Trump re-ups his support for merit-based immigration plan

U.S. President Donald Trump will not necessarily insist on including funding for a border wall with Mexico in legislation to address protections for children brought to the United States illegally, a senior aide said on Tuesday.

Separately, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said Democrats are backing legislation to help the young immigrants and hope to force a vote on it later this month — a maneuver that would require the support of at least two dozen Republicans.

White House legislative director Marc Short, speaking to reporters at a Christian Science Monitor breakfast, said the administration will lay out its priorities for a fix for the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program in the next couple of weeks. “Plus BIG border security”.

But the White House disputed some details of the proposed deal.

While Trump remains committed to his campaign promise to build the wall along the US border with Mexico, “whether or not that is specifically part of a DACA package or a different legislative package, I am not going to prejudge here today”, Short said.

Immigration activists and DACA recipients take part in a rally about the importance of passing a clean DREAM Act before delivering a million signatures to Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., September 12, 2017.

Last Thursday, after an unrelated event on infrastructure, Trump pressed Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., on whether he would accept the wall as a trade for protections for “Dreamers”, but Schumer refused, according to a person familiar with the exchange who spoke on condition of anonymity to disclose the private conversation.

“Does anybody really want to throw out good, educated and accomplished young people who have jobs, some serving in the military?”

But the Trump administration’s debate over what the wall and amnesty continued after Trump touched down in Florida, with the President telling reporters that while he is not looking at “citizenship” or “amnesty” for undocumented immigrants, he is “looking at allowing people to stay here”. “There is no wall in our DACA future”, Pelosi added.

After hearing this, Iowa Congressman Steve King said this will hurt Trump’s support base.

The public back-and-forth exemplifies a tightrope the Trump White House is having to walk: The President is so eager to strike a deal from the Oval Office, given his entire persona is defined by him being a deal-making businessman-turned-politician, that he is sometimes willing to break with his base and past comments to do so. “No promise is credible”.

Trump and other republican leaders say there is no deal on immigration yet and the dinner was just to get democratic leaders’ perspective.

“He (Trump) said: ‘I’m sure you guys can work out some of the differences.’ He looked at me and said: ‘You should sit down with Tom Cotton, ‘” Cuellar said.

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