President Donald Trump said on Thursday he was close to a deal with Democratic congressional leaders on protections for illegal immigrants brought to the United States as children, astounding fellow Republicans again while alarming conservative supporters.
Trump said any final agreement must include border security measures including surveillance systems but would not include funding for his planned wall along the U.S.-Mexican border, a central 2016 campaign promise. Trump said the wall would “come later” and warned Democrats not to obstruct it.
Trump described the parameters of an agreement on the fate of the roughly 800,000 so-called Dreamers reached in his White House meeting on Wednesday evening with top Senate Democrat Chuck Schumer and top House of Representatives Democrat Nancy Pelosi.
“We have to have an understanding that, whether it’s in the budget or some other vehicle, in a very short period of time the wall will be funded. Otherwise, we’re not doing anything,” Trump said after landing in Florida to survey hurricane damage.
Schumer and Pelosi reiterated their opposition to the wall, and Democrats in the past have promised to block funding for it.
“I think we’re fairly close but we have to get massive border security,” Trump told reporters earlier in the day of a potential deal.
Trump said Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell were both “on board” with the potential deal and that “we’re doing it in conjunction with the Republicans.” Trump spoke with Ryan and McConnell on Thursday morning only after he had reached the outline of the deal with the Democrats.
The potential agreement was the latest development in the president’s newfound willingness to work with Democrats after Republicans, who control Congress, failed to deliver legislative victories on healthcare and other matters.
Trump stunned Republican leaders last week by reaching an agreement with Schumer and Pelosi to fund the government and raise the U.S. debt ceiling through mid-December.Reuters