Donald Trump drew a line in the sand on immigration, tweeting that there will be no deal on legislation to protect Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) participants without Congress funding a wall along the southern border.
Democrats are already hearing it from their base because they helped pass a temporary funding bill earlier this month without any action on DACA. Democrats had said they would not vote for funding unless DACA legislation is included.
But with a promise from the White House that DACA would be addressed early in 2018, Democrats caved and voted for funding for the government through the middle of January.
Trump's declaration casts doubt [on] how Democrats and Republicans will come together to protect Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) participants – of which there are nearly 800,000 who were brought to the United States illegal as children – from deportation because it is unlikely that Democrats will agree to substantial funding for Trump's border wall in exchange for DACA protections.
Drew Hammill, House [m]inority [l]eader Nancy Pelosi's spokesman, responded to Trump's tweet by stating [that] Democrats are "not going to negotiate through the press and look forward to a serious negotiation at Wednesday's meeting when we come back."
Pelosi, Senate [m]inority [l]eader Chuck Schumer, House [s]peaker Paul Ryan, Senate [m]ajority [l]eader Mitch McConnell[,] and White House chief of staff John Kelly will meet on Wednesday, according to two sources familiar with the meeting. The top discussion topic will be renewed government spending talks, the sources said.
So the battle lines are drawn, and Congress has its work cut out for it. What makes the situation particularly dicey is that the Democrats appear willing to shut down the government rather than fund a border wall. It's unclear how that will play politically, but Democrats will rely on their friends in the media to make sure that Republicans appear to be at fault.
That could pose a problem for Trump. There is only lukewarm support for the wall in Congress, especially in the Senate. Conversely, there is some GOP support for legalizing the children of illegal aliens. While it's doubtful that Republicans would abandon the wall in favor of DACA, there may be room for a deal.
A possible compromise could include funding for "border security" that would include portions of the wall in exchange for a more limited DACA program. In truth, neither side wants to test the political popularity of the issues it has chosen to make a stand on. There is risk for both sides in failing to come to a deal.
At this point, an agreement to fund the government and deal with DACA appears far away. Congressional leaders will have to get creative to satisfy the president and the base of the Democratic Party.
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