Washington (AFP) – Top US congressional Democrats emerged from a meeting with President Donald Trump Wednesday claiming progress on a deal that protects young immigrants and boosts border security, while not including a border wall.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and top House Democrat Nancy Pelosi said they had a “very productive” dinner meeting with Trump in which the discussion focused on the fate of young immigrants who arrived in the country illegally as children.
Trump’s predecessor Barack Obama protected such immigrants, known as “dreamers,” through his Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals order.
But Trump rescinded that executive order, and urged Congress to craft a legal solution within the next six months.
“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,” Schumer and Pelosi said in a joint statement.
The White House, which had earlier put out a muted statement about the “constructive working dinner” addressing tax reform, border security, DACA and the need for bipartisan solutions, quickly pushed back against the Democrats’ characterization.
“While DACA and border security were both discussed, excluding the wall was certainly not agreed to,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said on Twitter.
A Schumer aide also weighed in to clarify.
“The president made clear he would continue pushing the wall, just not as part of this agreement,” Matt House tweeted.
Trump has maintained his desire to build a wall, even threatening a government shutdown last month if he did not get his way. Funding for its construction would likely be pursued through budget talks and not DACA legislation.
But the progress that was apparently achieved at the dinner is another sign that the Republican president is comfortable dealing with the opposition, as much or more than the congressional leaders within his own party.
Last week, over the objection of House Speaker Paul Ryan, Trump struck a deal with Schumer and Pelosi to fund a hurricane relief package that also included a debt ceiling hike and three-month extension of government funding.