The top House and Senate Democrats said Wednesday they had reached agreement with President Donald Trump to protect thousands of younger immigrants from deportation and fund some border security enhancements — not including Trump's long-sought border wall.
The agreement, the latest instance of Trump ditching his own party to make common cause with the opposition, was announced by Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi following a White House dinner that Republican lawmakers weren't invited to attend. It would enshrine protections for the nearly 800,000 immigrants brought illegally to this country as kids who had benefited from former President Barack Obama's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program, which provided temporary work permits and shielded recipients from deportation.
Trump ended the program earlier this month and gave Congress six months to come up with a legislative fix before the statuses of the so-called "Dreamers" begin to expire.
"We agreed to enshrine the protections of DACA into law quickly, and to work out a package of border security, excluding the wall, that's acceptable to both sides," Pelosi and Schumer said in a joint statement.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders partially disputed their characterization, saying over Twitter that "excluding the wall was certainly not agreed to."
Either way, it was the second time in two weeks that Trump cut out Republicans to reach a deal with Pelosi and Schumer. A person briefed on the meeting, who demanded anonymity to discuss it, said the deal specifies bipartisan legislation called the DREAM Act that provides eventual citizenship for the young immigrants.
House Republicans would normally rebel over such an approach, which many view as amnesty for law-breakers. It remains to be seen how conservatives' loyalty to Trump will affect their response to a policy they would have opposed under other circumstances.
The House's foremost immigration hardliner, GOP Rep. Steve King of Iowa, made clear that he, for one, was not happy.
Addressing Trump over Twitter, King wrote that if the reports were true, "Trump base is blown up, destroyed, irreparable, and disillusioned beyond repair. No promise is credible."...Read more