Trump proposes extending protections for DACA recipients in exchange for border wall funding

2019-01-20 05:25:13 GMT2019-01-20 13:25:13(Beijing Time) Xinhua English

WASHINGTON, Jan. 19 (Xinhua) -- U.S. President Donald Trump on Saturday proposed extending protections for young people brought to the nation illegally as children in exchange for 5.7 billion U.S. dollars in funding for his long-promised border wall, as he tried to break a government shutdown standoff.

Trump, speaking from the White House, linked his demand for border security to the BRIDGE Act, legislation that would extend protections for recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), or the so-called "Dreamers."

The president said he would also allow holders of the Temporary Protected Status to remain in the country, though the administration has rescinded some of their protections.

The proposal also includes 800 million dollars for urgent humanitarian assistance and 805 million dollars for drug detection technology to secure ports of entry, while asking for more border agents, law enforcement personnel and immigration judges.

Trump called his proposal a "common sense compromise both parties should embrace," touting that there is "lots of compromise" in it.

The president added that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell would seek quick passage of the proposal, which, however, does not include a path to citizenship for Dreamers and is viewed as a nonstarter for Democrats.

Shortly before he spoke, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the top U.S. Democrat, said the proposal was "unacceptable" and did not "represent a good-faith effort to restore certainty to people's lives."

The president's offer was unlikely to gain the votes needed to pass the House of Representatives or Senate, she said in a statement.

In a statement Saturday, Pelosi said that initial reports of the proposed deal "make clear that his proposal is a compilation of several previously rejected initiatives, each of which is unacceptable and in total, do not represent a good faith effort to restore certainty to people's lives."

"It is unlikely that any one of these provisions alone would pass the House, and taken together, they are a non-starter. For one thing, this proposal does not include the permanent solution for the Dreamers and TPS recipients that our country needs and supports," the California Democrat added.

Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois, despite co-sponsoring the BRIDGE Act, said in a statement Saturday that he would not support the Trump proposal to reopen the government.

"First, President Trump and Senate Majority Leader McConnell must open the government today. Second, I cannot support the proposed offer as reported and do not believe it can pass the Senate. Third, I am ready to sit down at any time after the government is opened and work to resolve all outstanding issues," Durbin said.

Trump has demanded money to build a wall along the U.S. southern border with Mexico, a signature campaign promise, but it has been strongly rejected by Democrats who view the wall as expensive, ineffective and "immoral" and call it "a political theater."

Their disagreement has led to a budget impasse and a record-breaking partial government shutdown, which enters its 29th day Saturday, affecting nine cabinet-level departments and dozens of agencies, as its impact is rippling across country.

Pelosi said Saturday that Democrats will pass a package of six bills to re-open the government "so that we can fully negotiate on border security proposals."