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Trump says no amnesty for ‘Dreamers,’ signals support in broader deal


WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump said on Sunday his proposed immigration deal to end a 30-day partial government shutdown would not lead to amnesty for “Dreamers,” but appeared to signal support for amnesty as part of a broader immigration agreement.

U.S. President Donald Trump arrives to deliver remarks on border security and the partial shutdown of the U.S. government in the Diplomatic Room at the White House in Washington, U.S., January 19, 2019. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas

In a morning Twitter storm, Trump also said he would not seek the removal of millions of illegal aliens living in the United States, while bashing House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her fellow Democrats for turning down his offer on Saturday.

“No, Amnesty is not a part of my offer. It is a 3-year extension of DACA. Amnesty will be used only on a much bigger deal, whether on immigration or something else,” Trump said on Twitter.

“Likewise there will be no big push to remove the 11,000,000 plus people who are here illegally-but be careful Nancy!”

The Dreamers, which refers to undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children, are protected from deportation under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

DACA was put in place under former President Barack Obama. The Trump administration said in September 2017 it would rescind DACA but it remains in effect under court order.

Trump did not make clear what he was referring to regarding the 11 million people mentioned in his tweet. About 12 million people are living in the United States illegally, according to U.S. Department of Homeland Security estimates.

About one-quarter of the U.S. government shut down on Dec. 22 over Trump’s demand for $5.7 billion to fund a wall along the border with Mexico, which Democrats have refused to consider. Some 800,000 federal workers have been ordered to stay home or work without pay during the shutdown.

On Sunday, a day after Trump’s DACA proposal, there appeared to be signs of movement, even as Democrats insisted the government should reopen before proceeding with talks over border security.

“What the president proposed yesterday – increasing border security, looking at TPS, looking at the Dreamers – I’ll use that as a starting point. But you’ve got to start by reopening the government,” U.S. Senator Mark Warner said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

Temporary Protected Status (TPS) refers to another class of immigrants – nationals from designated countries affected by armed conflict, natural disaster, or other strife.

Warner, a Virginia Democrat, said reopening the government ahead of border security negotiations was important for preventing future shutdowns.

“If the president can arbitrarily shut down the government now, he will do it time and again,” Warner said.

Warner also said Congress should approve pay for federal workers affected by the shutdown before they miss another paycheck this week.

“Let’s at least pay them on Thursday, so they don’t have to go through more angst,” Warner said.

Reporting by David Morgan in Washington; Additional reporting by Yasmeen Abutaleb in Washington; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe



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Politics

Top Democrat dismisses wall-for-DACA offer expected from Trump


WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump will propose an immigration deal on Saturday in a bid to end a 29-day partial government shutdown, a source familiar with his plans said, but House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi called it “unacceptable” as details emerged.

The president has not budged on his demand that $5.7 billion to fund a U.S.-Mexico border wall be part of any bill to fully reopen the government, an ultimatum Democrats oppose. But Trump is expected to try to pressure Democrats in other areas.

In a speech set for 4 p.m. EST (2100 GMT), Trump will extend support for legislation to protect young undocumented immigrants, known as “Dreamers,” as well as holders of temporary protected status (TPS), the source said.

Pelosi, the top U.S. Democrat, in a statement said the offer did not “represent a good-faith effort to restore certainty to people’s lives.” She said the president’s offer was unlikely to gain the votes needed to pass the House or Senate.

Dick Durbin, the No. 2 Senate Democrat, said he could not support such an offer. “First, President Trump and Senate majority leader (Mitch) McConnell must open the government today,” Durbin said in a statement.

“Second, I cannot support the proposed offer as reported and do not believe it can pass the Senate. Third, I am ready to sit down at any time after the government is opened and work to resolve all outstanding issues,” Durbin said.

The Democratic-controlled House has approved several bills that would restore funding to shutdown-affected federal agencies. But Trump opposes the bills and McConnell has refused to let any of them come to a vote in the Senate, which is still controlled by Trump’s fellow Republicans.

The source familiar with the president’s upcoming speech said Trump does not plan to declare a national emergency along the U.S.-Mexico border, a step he threatened to take earlier in his struggle with Congress over the shutdown.

Declaring an emergency would be an attempt by Trump to circumvent Congress and its power over the federal purse strings to pay for his wall. Such a step would likely prompt a swift legal challenge over constitutional powers from Democrats.

As the shutdown passed the four-week mark, making it the longest in U.S. history, about 800,000 federal workers were still at home on furlough or working without pay, a situation that was threatening public services and the economy.

Polls showed Americans increasingly blaming Trump for the shutdown, the 19th to occur since the mid-1970s. Most past shutdowns have been brief. The current one has had no impact on three-quarters of the government, including the Department of Defense, which has secure funding.

U.S. President Donald Trump delivers remarks on the humanitarian crisis on the Southern border and the shutdown as Vice President Mike Pence looks on at the White House in Washington, U.S., January 19, 2019. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas

“IT’S NOT PERSONAL”

Trump told reporters on the White House South Lawn on Saturday that he has no personal feud with Pelosi.

She and other Democrats oppose Trump’s demand for a border wall, calling it too expensive, ineffective and immoral.

“Whether it’s personal or not, it’s not personal for me,” Trump said, adding he was concerned about more immigrants moving north through Mexico toward the U.S. border.

“I’m disappointed that Mexico is not stopping them,” he said. “If we had a wall, we wouldn’t have a problem.”

The Dreamers, mostly young Latinos, are protected from deportation under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which protects certain people who illegally entered the United States as children. It provides about 700,000 immigrants with work permits, but no path to citizenship.

Former Democratic President Barack Obama put DACA in place in 2012 through an executive order. The Trump administration announced in September 2017 it would rescind DACA, but the policy remains in effect under a court order.

Axios reported that Trump would throw his support behind the BRIDGE Act, which would provide three years of temporary legal status and work authorization for the Dreamers. The act was first proposed in 2016 by Durbin and Senator Lindsey Graham, a Republican close to Trump.

Slideshow (4 Images)

Temporary Protected Status (TPS) is given to nationals from designated countries affected by armed conflict, natural disaster, or other strife. TPS holders are permitted to work and live in the United States for limited times.

The Trump administration has shown a deep skepticism toward the TPS program and has moved to revoke the special status for immigrants from El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras and other nations.

Reporting by Steve Holland, Jan Wolfe and Richard Cowan; Editing by Kevin Drawbaugh and Leslie Adler



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