President Trump on Thursday defended his negotiations with Democratic leaders on immigration, as many of his most prominent supporters denounced the idea of a deal to legalize the status of hundreds of thousands of young immigrants who are in rthis county illegally.
"We're working on a plan — subject to getting massive border controls. We're working on a plan for DACA," Trump told reporters on Air Force One as he prepared to fly to Florida to inspect hurricane recovery efforts.
DACA is the acronym for the Obama administration program that shielded nearly 800,000 young immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as children, the so-called Dreamers, from deportation. Trump last week said he would phase out the program starting in six months.
"People want to see that happen," Trump said, referring to a legislative solution for the Dreamers. "You have 800,000 young people, brought here, no fault of their own. So we're working on a plan, we'll see how it works out. We're going to get massive border security as part of that. And I think something can happen, we'll see what happens, but something will happen," he said.
Responding to a shouted question on whether he favors "amnesty," Trump shouted back: "The word is DACA."
Trump met for dinner Wednesday night with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) to discuss the issue. Shortly after the dinner, the two Democrats issued a statement saying that they had agreed with Trump to pursue legislation to legalize the status of Dreamers.
The two released an additional statement Thursday morning saying that "as we said last night, there was no final deal, but there was agreement on the following: We agreed that the President would support enshrining DACA protections into law, and encourage the House and Senate to act."
“What remains to be negotiated are the details of border security, with a mutual goal of finalizing all details as soon as possible," they added.
The deal would not include money for Trump's long-sought wall along the border with Mexico, they said, adding that. "the President made clear he intends to pursue it at a later time, and we made clear we would continue to oppose it."
“Both sides agreed that the White House and the Democratic leaders would work out a border security package. Possible proposals were discussed including new technology, drones, air support, sensor equipment, rebuilding roads along the border and the bipartisan McCaul-Thompson bill,” a reference to a border security measure.
Trump confirmed most of that, telling reporters that "the wall will come later."
"We're right now renovating large sections of wall, massive sections, making it brand new," he said, referring to efforts to repair and upgrade some sections of existing border fences.
Trump also said he had briefed House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on his discussions with Schumer and Pelosi and that they were "on board."
Talk of a deal, however, sparked angry reactions among many of Trump's supporters.
"Amnesty Don ... Trump Caves on DACA," screamed the headline on Breitbart, the conservative website run by Steve Bannon, Trump's former chief strategist.
Sean Hannity, the Fox commentator and one of Trump's most loyal supporters, likened the president's negotiations to President George H.W. Bush's breaking of his "no new taxes" pledge — a decision that led to a conservative revolt that doomed Bush's presidency.
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