Trump, Key Lawmakers Negotiating Immigration Policies

Jan 10, 2018, 00:25
Trump, Key Lawmakers Negotiating Immigration Policies

The objective of the meeting was to hammer out a temporary spending bill likely to include an extension of President Barack Obama's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival program, or DACA, for some immigrants brought into the United States as minors. Instead, the guest list is set to include lawmakers from both parties involved in the immigration debate, such as Republican Senators John Cornyn of Texas and Tom Cotton of Arkansas, and Senator Dick Durbin of IL, a Democrat. Wall funding wasn't included in a stopgap year-end funding bill, nor was it ever considered when Democrats thought they'd struck a deal on DACA with Trump this fall.

"I think it's a mistake to think of the border wall as a standalone", Cornyn, the No. 2 Republican in the Senate, said Monday.

The proposal would also address border control technologies to be implemented by 2020 that may include physical or technological barriers, add judges to immigration court and effect worldwide measures that contribute to migration from Central America. DACA has become a bargaining chip as Congress moves closer to having to pass a spending bill or shut down the government.

Top congressional leaders did not attend the hour-long meeting.

Democrats want protections for Dreamers under DACA [[ DAH-kuh ]].

Congressional leaders met with Trump at the White House last Thursday, but Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said the president's call for a wall to be part of the deal may have poisoned the well. "I think he thinks they're interchangeable".

While the government-contracted wall prototypes have risen near the border in San Diego, the Trump administration has so far not made significant progress on the much larger - and costlier - undertaking of funding and constructing a border wall.

U.S. Senator Thom Tillis of North Carolina, a Republican, said that the session on Tuesday would not simply consist of lawmakers presenting Trump with a plan for him to reject or accept.

"I would have more faith in the meeting if they would have people going who really knew the issue from our side", she said, adding that she was not criticizing Durbin. Those issues include efforts to nix some forms of legal immigration such as family reunification, called "chain migration" by Trump and other opponents, and the green card diversity lottery system. "Believe it or not, this is the least important thing that we are talking about, but politically this might be the most important talk about", he said, implying that the wall was little more than a well-marketed concept created to appeal to his voter base.

But then a few minutes later, Trump said DACA could come first and reform could come down the road, or immediately after. The Trump administration dissolved the program in September, granting one final two-year extension for people whose DACA permits expire by March 5, 2018.

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