In a televised portion of a meeting with Republican and Democratic lawmakers about immigration reform Tuesday, President Donald Trump appeared to toy with the idea of permitting recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program to stay with a stand-alone bill.
What is the DACA issue?
Trump previously indicated that he would be willing to consider supporting a bill that would allow recipients of the DACA program to stay in the country permanently if such legislation also included funding for the construction of his proposed border wall at the U.S.-Mexico border.
DACA permits some immigrants, who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children, temporary protection from deportation and grants them permission to legally work in the U.S. Recipients of DACA protections are often referred to as “Dreamers.”
Dreamers are currently in limbo because the Trump administration announced last year it would end DACA, calling on Congress to find a permanent solution. The program will expire in March and if a so-called fix isn't passed, about 800,000 Dreamers could be deported.
Republicans and Democrats have yet to reach an agreement as to what exactly should be done to shield Dreamers from deportation, according to NBC News. Some lawmakers have argued Dreamers should be granted legal status while others argued they should be given a path to citizenship.
What did Trump say today?
Trump told lawmakers Tuesday, “I hope we’re going to come up with an answer for DACA.”
“We have something in common, we’d like to see this get done,” Trump said of DACA, adding, “maybe we can do something.”
"I feel having the Democrats in with us is absolutely vital, because this should be a bipartisan bill," he said. “It should be a bill of love. Truly, it should be a bill of love. And we can do that.”
President Trump says he wants bipartisan immigration reform: "I feel having the Democrats in with us is absolutely vital ... it should be a bill of love" https://t.co/qnCXJs1ZB2 https://t.co/m9zvuvrZw8
— CNN (@CNN) January 9, 2018
Trump said the bill also must enable “us to secure our border.”
“We have tremendous numbers of people and drugs pouring into our country,” he said.
What are the options?
Asked by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) if he would support a “clean” DACA fix if he were given a commitment that it would be followed by “comprehensive immigration reform.”
Trump initially appeared to agree to a stand-alone DACA bill, saying “I would like that,” before Republican lawmakers objected.
Here's the incredible moment where Trump initially agrees to Feinstein's suggestion that they do a clean DACA bill, before being corrected by Republicans about what she was actually suggesting. pic.twitter.com/RaXAQAi8JF
— David Mack (@davidmackau) January 9, 2018
Trump said he might support a two-part deal.
“To me, a clean bill is a bill of DACA, we take care of them, and we also take care of [border] security," he said.
Trump indicated he would be willing to sign any legislation lawmakers could agree upon:
I think my positions are going to be what the people in this room come up with. I am very much reliant on the people in this room. I know most of the people on both sides, have a lot of respect for the people on both sides, and what I approve is going to be very much reliant on what the people in this room come to me with.