At a meeting with several Republican Senators on Thursday, President Donald Trump reiterated his demand that any legislation to protect young illegal immigrants brought to the country as children include funding for his controversial border wall and other reforms to the immigration system.
Trump said any bill to address the rescinded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals must secure the border with a wall while also ending chain migration and the visa lottery system.
The meeting was only attended by Republicans, but Trump noted there are negotiations with Democrats to address immigration reform.
“We’re moving across the aisle and trying to get support, and I think we have a lot of support. But we’ll soon see,” Trump said. “We’d love to take care of DACA, but we’re only going to do it under these conditions.”
Trump rescinded the DACA program in September with a six-month delay, setting up a March 5th deadline for lawmakers to reach an agreement on protections for the illegal immigrants known as Dreamers.
Democrats have previously offered to beef up border security in order to secure protections for Dreamers but remain opposed to building Trump’s proposed wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.
The Republicans at the meeting included Senators John Cornyn, R-Tex., Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., Tom Cotton, R-Ark., Thom Tillis, R-N.C., and James Lankford, R-Okla.
Notably absent was Senator Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., who told reporters he was invited but argued the meeting should have been bipartisan.
“It does no good to just have a partisan bill,” Flake said. “The only thing that’s going to work is a bipartisan bill. It’s got to have 60 votes.”
The Senators at the meeting expressed optimism that a bill would be passed, with Lankford suggesting that setting a deadline will inspire lawmakers to reach a legislative solution.
Democrats have demanded that protections for Dreamers be included in a long-term spending bill that needs to be passed by January 19th.
by RTT Staff Writer
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