Democrats Talk New Deal With Trump, This Time On DACA

Upending the political order in the nation’s capital for the second time in a week, House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco and her Senate counterpart, Chuck Schumer of New York, said Wednesday night that they had reached an agreement with President Trump to shield undocumented immigrants who arrived in the U.S. as children from deportation and to increase border security, but without building a wall.

The two Democrats made the announcement after dining on Chinese food with Trump at the White House. The deal came just one week after Trump, Pelosi and Schumer stunned Republicans by announcing a three-month agreement to raise the federal debt limit without attaching conservative budget reductions.

“We had a very productive meeting at the White House with the president,” Pelosi and Schumer said in a joint statement. They said the discussion focused on the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, the Obama-era rules that now protect 690,000 immigrants who arrived in the U.S. as children without legal documentation. The Trump administration said last week that it would phase out the protections and handed the issue to Congress to resolve.

“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,” Pelosi and Schumer said.

“Donald Trump said from the beginning that his job is to get things done for the American people, not just the Republican Party,” said GOP strategist Ford O’Connell. “If Republicans can’t muster the votes in Congress, he’s going to work with Democrats.”

O’Connell said one of the big misconceptions about Trump is that he is “an ideologue. He’s about accomplishments.”

Still, any deal on immigration in Congress will require some Republican support, and conservatives reacted harshly to Wednesday night’s news.

O’Connell said Republicans would have to get a substantial boost in border security in return for legalization . “Democrats are going to vote to legalize the ‘Dreamers’ (DACA recipients) and a lot of moderate Republicans are,” O’Connell said. “Republicans are just nervous about making sure they get the most out of that.”

Read more from Carolyn Lochhead at the San Francisco Chronicle 

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