x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 21 September 2017

Trump and Democrats 'fairly close' on DACA deal in Congress

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals was put in place in 2012 by Barack Obama to protect undocumented minors and is set to expire in March

House Minority Leader Democrat Nancy Pelosi dicusses Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), on Capitol Hill in Washington.  EPA/MICHAEL REYNOLDS
House Minority Leader Democrat Nancy Pelosi dicusses Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), on Capitol Hill in Washington. EPA/MICHAEL REYNOLDS

Washington // Donald Trump and leaders of the Democratic minority in Congress inched closer to a deal on legislation that would protect more than 790,000 undocumented immigrants who came to the US as children.

“We're working on a plan for DACA” and are "fairly close" to a deal, Mr Trump said on his way to Florida on Thursday to visit areas ravaged by hurricane Irma.

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals was put in place in 2012 by Barack Obama to protect undocumented minors and is set to expire in March if Congress and the White House do not agree on a new law. 

But following a dinner with Democrats Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi, a bipartisan agreement that involves extra border security measures requested by Mr Trump is in reach. If enacted into law, it would be the most significant legislation for Mr Trump since he came to office. 

“We had a very productive meeting at the White House with the president... We agreed to enshrine the protections of DACA into law quickly, and to work out a package of border security, excluding the wall, that’s acceptable to both sides,” the Democratic leadership said. 

Mr Trump broke with his base in accepting the principle of giving DACA recipients a legal status. A final deal would need a vote in Congress.

“Does anybody really want to throw out good, educated and accomplished young people who have jobs, some serving in the military? Really!.....” Mr Trump tweeted. 

https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/908276308265795585

According to a new Pew research study DACA has shielded nearly 790,000 young unauthorised immigrants from deportation. A poll conducted by Politico and Morning Consult this week showed that “73 per cent, of voters want legislation protecting Dreamers from deportation.”

Still, Mr Trump’s move could get him in trouble with his base who voted for him because of a hawkish stance on immigration issues including ending DACA. 

Ann Coulter, a far right pundit floated in a tweet the idea of impeaching Mr Trump. “At this point, who DOESN'T want Trump impeached?” she said.

https://twitter.com/AnnCoulter/status/908285561194078208

Former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon said to CBS last week that Mr Trump’s shift on DACA could cost Republicans the House majority in 2018. 

For Mr Trump, however, veering to work with Democrats has so far helped him in striking a deal on the debt ceiling and a potential one on DACA.

Maggie Haberman of The New York Times said Mr Trump’s dinner menu with the Democrats on Wednesday was Chinese food. “Apparently intentional” she tweeted because of common ground between Mr Trump and Mr Schumer on the issue of Chinese trade, and more deals to come.