Trump offers immigration deal to end shutdown
- Merle Christensen
In a bid to break the shutdown stalemate, President Trump offered to extend temporary protections for young people brought to the US illegally as children and those fleeing disaster zones in exchange for his long-promised border wall.
Hoping to put pressure on Democrats, the White House billed the announcement as a major step forward.
"I think you could tell by the president's remarks today", Vice President Mike Pence said, "that we're reaching out". "Best economy! They should do the right thing for the Country & allow people to go back to work", he said.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., dismissed the proposal as a "non-starter" and vowed that Democrats would pass legislation this week to reopen the government, putting the onus on the Republican-led Senate to follow suit.
The proposal McConnell will put on the floor this week is more than just what the president laid out today - including some pieces created to put Democrats in a more hard position. "What is good in the proposal is not original", she later tweeted.
"President Donald Trump has pushed back after receiving criticism from right-wing pundits who took aim at his offer to allow DACA and TPS immigrants to remain in the US for three more years, vowing that "amnesty" is not on the table".
Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is to bring Trump's proposal to the Senate floor for a vote on Tuesday. "Reopen the government, let workers get their paychecks and then we can discuss how we can come together to protect the border".
Democrats made their own move late Friday to break the impasse when they pledged to provide hundreds of millions of dollars more for border security. And Nancy Pelosi made it very hard when she said that a wall is amoral.
Pence said White House officials have been speaking to "rank and file" congressional Democrats and offered to extend TPS and DACA because of those conversations. The Senate will vote on this sensible plan next week.
"We should not be in this situation", the Mississippi Democrat said on ABC's "This Week".
Representative Bennie Thompson, a Democrat who chairs the Homeland Security Committee, said that "I would not rule out a wall in certain circumstances". McConnell calls it a fair compromise for ending the shutdown.
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The dispute over Trump's border wall has caused a partial government shutdown now into its fifth week. On this occasion, he sought to strike a diplomatic tone, emphasizing trust and the need to work across the aisle. According to data from Doctors Without Borders, 68.3% of migrants and refugees "entering Mexico reported being victims of violence during their transit toward the United States", and almost one-third of women said they'd been sexually abused.
Conservative radio host Ann Coulter and other immigration hard-liners slammed the Saturday proposal as "amnesty" for immigrants who were brought to the U.S.as children as well as for refugees from several countries. However, nothing is definite until it's announced by the President.
Later on Sunday morning, Trump touted his progress on building the wall, even without the necessary funding.
Pelosi called the deal and "non-starter".
Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, a longtime anti-immigration voice in the House, blasted Trump's offer, and the conservative news website Breitbart noted that most of the border would remain without a wall under the plan.
"We voted for Trump and got Jeb!" she wrote, referring to former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who had a more moderate immigration position when campaigning for the presidency.
The proposal would also include extend protections for those with Temporary Protected Status. "This is not an amnesty bill", the vice president said.
He said his opponents "don't see crime and drugs, they only see 2020 - which they are not going to win".
Schumer says the protections for immigrants that Trump is offering to temporarily revive are legal shields that Trump took away in the first place. The administration's DACA and TPS actions have been held up in court, at least so far. The legislation doesn't provide a pathway to citizenship and is only a temporary solution.
Democrats criticized the expected proposal because it didn't seem to be a permanent solution for those immigrants and because it includes money for the wall along the U.S. -Mexico border, which the party strongly opposes.
Durbin and other Democrats want Trump to reopen government before talks can start. But, the decision was challenged in court and is now held up in legal proceedings. However, the bills did not include additional funding for the border wall.
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