President Trump on Saturday offered Democrats three years of deportation protections for some immigrants in exchange for $5.7 billion in border wall funding, a proposal immediately rejected by Democrats and derided by conservatives as amnesty.
Aiming to end the 29-day partial government shutdown, Trump outlined his plan in a White House address in which he sought to revive negotiations with Democrats, who responded that they would not engage in immigration talks until he reopened the government.
Trump proposed offering a reprieve on his attempts to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and temporary protected status (TPS) for immigrants from some Latin American and African nations, in exchange for building hundreds of miles of barriers on the southern U.S. border and hiring thousands of new law enforcement agents to be deployed there.
“This is a common-sense compromise both parties should embrace,” Trump said. He added: “The radical left can never control our borders. I will never let it happen.”
But the initial reaction to the offer from Democrats and conservative border hawks was hostile, raising doubts that it would be enough to break an impasse that has resulted in 800,000 federal workers being furloughed or forced to work without pay and numerous government agencies, including the Department of Homeland Security, operating at minimal staffing levels.
The shutdown has become the longest in U.S. government history.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) dismissed the proposal as a “non-starter” and vowed that Democrats would pass legislation in the coming week to reopen the government, putting the onus on the Republican-led Senate to follow suit.
“The president must sign these bills to reopen government immediately and stop holding the American people hostage with this senseless shutdown,” Pelosi said. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) also said he opposed the plan.
Moving ahead on Trump’s plan, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) announced that he would put the legislation on the Senate floor for a vote in the coming week. Trump heralded the package as a bipartisan, “compassionate response” that would offer humanitarian relief on the border and curb illegal immigration — while allowing the government to reopen.
By Katie Zezima for THE WASHINGTON POST
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