Democrats expressed optimism after Tuesday’s immigration talks with President Donald J. Trump. Following the bipartisan meeting with a group of lawmakers at the White House, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said he was “encouraged” by the president’s tone, as they discussed immigration reform.
“I was encouraged by what the president said at the White House today,” Schumer said as he spoke to reporters at his weekly press conference. “The tone was very good, but the devil lies in the details, and we need the president to follow up on this meeting, which boded well.”
Schumer said the 55-minute meeting presented a pathway for future negotiations.
“It’s encouraging that the president seems open to a narrow deal protecting the Dreamers, and to tackle some of the more difficult issues down the road as part of a separate comprehensive immigration reform bill,” Schumer said. “That’s a plan we agree with.”
Schumer expressed “confidence” that the two sides could agree on border security. First, however, Schumer and Democrats are looking for a legislative fix for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients, a program which was terminated under Trump’s administration and set to expire in March.
Democrats want recipients, called “Dreamers,” to be protected, and they’re using the threat of a partial government shutdown over a new spending deal to gain it. Congress must agree on a new deal before Jan. 19, when government funding expires.
Schumer said he doesn’t think that a DACA bill will pass on its own, and wants it enclosed in a “must-pass vehicle” so that it becomes law.
“It must go in a must-pass bill, and the only must-bill that we see coming down the road between now and March 5 is this bill,” Schumer said. “We expect it to be in the bill.”
“We have very little faith that if it’s not in a must-pass bill, it’ll ever pass,” Schumer said.
Schumer said earlier that Trump will be blamed if the government shuts down over the border wall.
“If the president goes down that path and insists on the wall or shut down the government, which he said back in September, make no mistake about it, a government shutdown will fall entirely, entirely on his shoulders,” he said from the Senate floor.
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