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Trump: No DACA Deal After Talks With Pelosi, Schumer


FILE - President Donald Trump speaks to, from left, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., during a meeting with Congressional leaders in the Oval Office, Sept. 6, 2017.

U.S. President Donald Trump said Thursday he did not make a deal with the House and Senate Democratic leaders regarding the undocumented immigrants who came to the country as children and were protected from deportation by an Obama-era program Trump canceled last week.

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer had said after meeting with Trump Wednesday night that they agreed to quickly put in place protections for the 800,000 people who registered under the program known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).

WATCH: Trump on DACA deal


Pelosi and Schumer said the plan would involve working out a border security package that did not include Trump's desired wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

"No deal was made last night on DACA," Trump wrote on Twitter early Thursday. "Massive border security would have to be agreed to in exchange for consent. Would be subject to vote."

He said the wall "will continue to be built." He also expressed support for those who were covered under DACA, after following through on his campaign pledge to do away with the program he previously criticized as "amnesty."

"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. Plus BIG border security."

WATCH: Trump on Border Wall


Trump's canceling of DACA included giving Congress six months to work out a permanent solution.

Border wall

The president told a group of lawmakers from both parties Wednesday that funding for a border wall could be dealt with separately from a bill providing a permanent fix for the people who had registered under DACA. The program allowed them to continue working or studying in the U.S. temporarily without the fear of deportation.

"That got people's attention," said Rep. Kurt Schrader, a Democrat from Oregon, told reporters after the meeting.

It is becoming clearer that the future of DACA recipients is almost impossible for the U.S. Congress to separate from a larger, even more contentious debate over comprehensive immigration reform.

President Trump indicated in the bipartisan meeting that he remained interested in tying additional funding for border security to any legislative fix for the DACA program, two Democratic lawmakers in the meeting told VOA.

According to two of the lawmakers, Trump suggested the RAISE Act, a Senate bill co-sponsored by Senators Tom Cotton and David Perdue, as the legislative solution for DACA. When House Democrats encouraged the president to support the Dream Act, he did not commit to that solution but indicated both parties could work together on a solution.

"The key is now can we find bipartisan agreement there? It starts by having these kinds of conversations," said Rep. Josh Gottheimer, a Democrat from New Jersey.

Congressional negotiations

House Speaker Paul Ryan, Rep. Pelosi and heads of the congressional Hispanic, Black and Asian caucuses also met Wednesday, in a first attempt to hammer out a compromise.

FILE - House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., talks with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., on Capitol Hill in Washington, Dec. 8, 2016.
FILE - House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., talks with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., on Capitol Hill in Washington, Dec. 8, 2016.

"It was a positive meeting," House Democratic Minority Whip Steny Hoyer told reporters afterwards. He would not comment on whether House Democrats would continue an attempt to force a floor vote on Dream Act legislation.

Pelosi and Democratic congressional caucuses asked the House Republican leader for a meeting after a week of demands for action, saying DACA recipients, also know as "Dreamers," deserved an end to their uncertain status by September 30.

But House Republicans recognize that negotiations on the DACA program present an unusual opportunity for compromises on Trump's calls for increased border security and comprehensive immigration reform, a solution that's eluded past presidents and Congress.

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    Steve Herman

    Steve Herman is VOA's White House Bureau Chief.

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    Katherine Gypson

    Katherine Gypson is a reporter for VOA’s News Center in Washington, D.C.  Prior to joining VOA in 2013, Katherine produced documentary and public affairs programming in Afghanistan, Tunisia and Turkey. She also produced and co-wrote a 12-episode road-trip series for Pakistani television exploring the United States during the 2012 presidential election. She holds a Master’s degree in Journalism from American University. Follow her @kgyp

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