Saul Loeb | AFP | Getty Images
President Donald Trump speaks about his administration’s National Security Strategy at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington, DC, December 18, 2017.
President Donald Trump on Friday said he wanted two major concessions in exchange for legal protections for hundreds of thousands of young immigrants who came to the United States as children.
The president’s demands potentially complicate bipartisan talks about shielding those immigrants from deportation. Congress faces a March 5 deadline to pass legislation after Trump ended the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program in September, with a six-month delay.
In a tweet, Trump claimed that Democrats “have been told, and fully understand, that there can be no DACA without the desperately needed WALL at the Southern Border and an END to the horrible Chain Migration & ridiculous Lottery System of Immigration etc.”
“We must protect our Country at all cost!” he wrote.
Democrats have previously signaled that they could agree to Republican demands for more border security funding in exchange for a fix to DACA. However, they have resisted Trump’s calls to fund a physical barrier on the U.S. border with Mexico.
Democrats are “not going to negotiate through the press and look forward to a serious negotiation” at a meeting Wednesday after they return to Washington, said Drew Hammill, a spokesman for House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.
Pelosi, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will meet with White House chief of staff John Kelly at the Capitol on Wednesday to resume government spending talks, a source familiar with the meeting said. Congress faces a Jan. 19 deadline to fund the government.
Chain migration refers to immigration by extended family members. The president recently blamed extended family immigration for an attempted New York City terror attack and called for an end to it.
A spokesman for Schumer did not immediately respond to requests to comment on Trump’s tweet.
Ending the program, which started in 2012 under Obama, could affect roughly 800,000 young people. It gives the immigrants a two-year period of protection from deportation and allows them to work in the United States.
The immigrants are sometimes referred to as “Dreamers” after the proposed DREAM Act legislation that never passed Congress. It would have granted many of the same protections as the Obama program.
In August, Schumer tweeted that the so-called Dreamers “are not a bargaining chip for the border wall and inhumane deportation force. Period.”
Earlier this month, McConnell said the Senate would not work on DACA until January.