Amid concern in conservative ranks, President Donald Trump said Thursday that he is nearing a deal with leaders in Congress to enact protections for certain younger illegal immigrants in the United States, in exchange for tougher border security measures, though such an agreement won’t include money for Mr. Trump’s wall along the Mexican border.
“The wall will come later,” the President said to reporters, as he left the White House to fly to Florida for a tour of damage from Hurricane Irma.
After a meeting last night with House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, and Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer, the President at first rejected talk by Democrats that there had been a deal to condify the DACA “Dreamer” program, but then said an agreement seemed close at hand.
“We’re working on a plant subject to getting massive border controls. We’re working on a plan for DACA. People want to see that happen,” Mr. Trump said.
News of the possible deal alarmed more conservative Republican activists, who have been worried that Mr. Trump might side with Democrats on the DACA program, which allowed some 800,000 younger immigrants – who were brought to the U.S. illegally by their parents – to get work permits, and avoid being deported.
“At this point, who DOESN’T want Trump impeached?” tweeted Ann Coulter. “He told 63 million who voted for him he’d build a wall.”
The website Breitbart, run by former Trump aide Steve Bannon, made clear it’s dislike for the emerging deal, calling the President, “Amnesty Don.”
But Mr. Trump has repeatedly made clear that he is ready to support a bill that would put the DACA “Dreamer” protections into law – if he can win concessions from Democrats on border security.
Democrats have suggested approving a bipartisan border security bill that won unanimous support in a key House committee earlier this year
“Possible proposals were discussed including new technology, drones, air support, sensor equipment, rebuilding roads along the border and the bipartisan McCaul-Thompson bill,” Schumer and Pelosi said in a joint statement issued on Thursday morning.
“What remains to be negotiated are the details of border security, with a mutual goal of finalizing all details as soon as possible,” they added.
And what seems more and more clear, is that the President wants to reach a deal on the DACA “Dreamers.”
“We have reached an agreement,” Schumer said on the Senate floor Thursday morning, “we just have to work out the details.”
As for Republicans in Congress, conservatives were warning the President against any deal on DACA that would give a path to citizenship to the “Dreamers,” saying it would undermine Mr. Trump’s support.
“If they see amnesty coming out of the White House, then that’s the one thing that will crack his base,” said Rep. Steve King (R-IA).
Others were still trying to digest the situation where – for a second straight week – the President seemed to be doing most of his negotiating with the opposition party’s leadership.
“I would encourage the administration to continue to talk not only to Democrats, but also to Republicans,” said Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA). “This is a very significant issue for Republicans.”
“Typically, a President of our party would work with our party,” said Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX).
Others blamed the Democrats and the news media for inaccurate reports on what the Schumer-Pelosi-Trump meeting covered, as one Republican said he ran into Speaker Paul Ryan early this morning.
“He had already been in conversation with the White House and the President, saying there was no deal,” said Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-OK).