Pushing for border wall, Trump to meet with Senators on immigration policy 

Posted: 4:00 am Tuesday, January 9th, 2018

By Staff Writer

With little progress to show from negotiations in Congress on the future fate of illegal immigrant “Dreamers” in the United States, President Donald Trump will meet at the White House with lawmakers of both parties on Tuesday, as he continues to say the Congress must approve billions of dollars to build a wall along the Mexican border, and approve significant immigration enforcement actions in exchange for any Dreamers deal.

“We are going to end chain migration. We are going to end the lottery system. And we are going to build the wall,” the President said to cheers at a convention of the American Farm Bureau Federation in Nasvhille, Tennessee on Monday.

Mr. Trump has made clear that while he wants to reach a deal to help Dreamers under the now-terminated DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) program – a move that’s opposed by a number of Republicans in Congress – he wants immigration changes in exchange for a move to protect Dreamers.

“The wall is going to happen or we’re not going to have DACA,” the President told reporters over the weekend.

On Monday, a parade of Republicans went to the Senate floor and called on Democrats to try to reach a deal, accusing the other party of negotiating in bad faith.

“There are some people that are talking about withdrawing from negotiations and trying to threaten a government shutdown,” said Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC).

“Say what you would like to about President Trump, but he is pushing the Congress to do something not done in two decades,” said Sen. James Lankford (R-OK), who like Tillis argues that something must be done for the DACA Dreamers – but that can’t happen on its own.

“Deals like this, where you need 60 votes, necessarily involve compromise,” said Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ), who has been trying to spearhead a bipartisan agreement on DACA, as he argued on the Senate floor Monday night that everyone must give a little.

There had been talk that lawmakers and the White House might try to reach a deal on DACA in a government funding bill which must be approved by January 19, but the chances for an overall budget deal by that date seem remote at this point – with some GOP hints that another short term budget extension was likely.

When the President terminated the DACA program last year, he set a deadline for action in March.

The maneuvering on Dreamers and immigration came as the Trump Administration ended another temporary immigration program, this one for people from El Salvador, who were allowed to come to the United States after a pair of earthquakes in 2001 ravaged that Central American nation.

It’s the latest in a series of decisions to rescind what’s known as ‘Temporary Protective Status’ – which will force people as many as 200,000 people from El Salvador, 50,000 from Haiti, and several thousand from Nicaragua to return to their home nations; reports indicated that such a move may also be made with respect to Syrian nationals who had come to the United States in recent years.

In Congress, Democrats denounced the move, as the latest in what they say is an anti-immigrant effort in the Trump Administration.

“It is clear that El Salvador is not in a position to receive these families, and rescinding their TPS designation only stands to jeopardize the health and safety of thousands while tearing families apart,” said Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ).

“The administration’s decision today will cause 200,000 children who are American citizens to either lose their parents or be forced out of the only home they have ever known,” said Rep. Val Demings (D-FL).

The 200,000 figure is the estimated number of kids – U.S. citizens after being born here – who might see their parents forced to go back to El Salvador by September of 2019.

While Democrats demanded that Congress approve plans to allow those people to stay in the United States, that type of action seems like a long shot – especially as lawmakers struggle to figure out what to do with an estimated 800,000 illegal immigrant Dreamers.

“The White House set this crisis in motion when it ended DACA four months ago,” said Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL). “Now, they are using Dreamers as a bargaining chip to pass a wish-list of hardline anti-immigrant bills.”

But for Republicans, it’s a much different story – yet another example of why finding common ground on various immigration policies has been nearly impossible over the last 15 years.

The President has asked Congress for $18 billion to build the border wall. Democrats say that runs directly against his campaign trail vow to have Mexico pay for that wall.

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