Sept. 14 (UPI) — Before he headed to Florida Thursday, President Donald Trump said a deal to protect so-called “Dreamers” in the United States appeared imminent, as the White House rejected the idea that the president is contemplating amnesty for undocumented immigrants.
Trump’s remarks came hours after he met with top Democratic leaders at a White House dinner to discuss the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., had said after the dinner that they and Trump agreed to allow DACA recipients to stay in the United States in exchange for new border security measures.
“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 statement.
Building a wall on the United States’ southern border has been a pledge of Trump’s since his presidential campaign.
Press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said “excluding the wall was certainly not agreed to” and Trump insisted Thursday morning the wall is still a part of his plan.
“No deal was made last night on DACA. Massive border security would have to be agreed to in exchange for consent. Would be subject to vote,” he tweeted.
Minutes later he added, “The WALL, which is already under construction in the form of new renovation of old and existing fences and walls, will continue to be built.”
In two additional messages, Trump said, “Does anybody really want to throw out good, educated and accomplished young people who have jobs, some serving in the military? Really!
“They have been in our country for many years through no fault of their own – brought in by parents at young age.”
Trump terminated the DACA program last week, a policy enacted in 2012 by the administration of former President Barack Obama. He called on Congress to codify the program, with revisions, into law. It offers a reprieve to undocumented immigrants who arrived in the United States as children.
Later Thursday, the White House told reporters on Air Force One, en route to Florida, that no amnesty would be offered to undocumented immigrants who technically broke the law to enter the United States. The declaration was made after the term “Amnesty Don,” a reference to Trump, began trending on the Internet.
“As we have said in the past, there will be no amnesty,” White House spokesperson Lindsay Walters said. “Absolutely by no means will this White House discuss amnesty and the president has made it clear how he feels about no amnesty. What the Trump administration will discuss is a responsible path forward in immigration reform. That could include legal citizenship over a period of time.”
“We’re working on a plan, subject to getting massive border controls,” Trump said before he boarded the plane. “We’re working on a plan for DACA. People want to see that happen. The wall will come later.”