In a gesture toward ending a partial government shutdown in its 29th day, President Trump on Saturday is expected to offer in a televised address protections from deportation for some undocumented immigrants in the U.S. in exchange for $5.7 billion to build the southern border wall, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing White House officials.
Other media outlets have reported expectations for similar concessions, although it wasn’t clear that Democrats had reviewed the proposal, nor agreed to it.
The offer to codify protections for young immigrants brought to the U.S. as children, known as Dreamers, is seen as a major concession inside the White House. Democrats have advocated for a path to permanent citizenship for the so-called Dreamers, while the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program provides temporary protections.
Jonathan Swan of Axios has reported that the offer is expected to include Trump’s $5.7 billion demand for wall money in exchange for the BRIDGE Act extending protections for DACA but also legislation to extend the legal status of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) holders.
Aides cautioned the Journal that the president may still change his approach. Trump is scheduled to make his announcement at 4 p.m. Eastern, bumped back once already as the president attended the arrival ceremony of fallen U.S. soldiers killed in Syria this week.
The Axios report said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell reportedly told Trump that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is unlikely to concede to end the partial shutdown without White House action, especially in the wake of her letter telling the president not to deliver the State of the Union address.
Trump has said that extending existing border barriers is needed to curb illegal immigration along the southern border. Most Democrats say it is an ineffective and expensive measure, stressing that most alleged immigration policy abuse comes from immigrants who overstay their legal permissions. Some have pointed to vulnerabilities of a wall, without boosting technology or manpower; others argue that Trump is clinging to a campaign promise whose funding plans have shifted. The White House’s plan was seen as particularly vulnerable in a now Democrat-controlled House.
The new White House position was negotiated by the president’s senior adviser and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and Vice President Mike Pence, aides said, according to the Journal.
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