- Getty Images/Olivier Douliery
- Congress and President Donald Trump failed once again to cut an immigration deal as part of spending negotiations.
- Lawmakers are pushing a $1.3 trillion spending deal that was considered the last chance this year to pass a deal on young unauthorized immigrants known as “Dreamers.”
- Trump also missed his chance to secure $25 billion for his border wall. Now, he’ll have to settle for $1.6 billion.
Yet another attempt at an immigration deal between lawmakers and the Trump administration floundered over the weekend as lawmakers rushed to cobble together a $1.3 trillion spending deal ahead of Friday’s government shutdown deadline.
President Donald Trump and lawmakers have been at loggerheads for months over the fate of young unauthorized immigrants known as “Dreamers,” who are temporarily protected from deportation under the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
In the most recent bout of negotiations over the weekend, the deal reportedly sputtered out over the number of unauthorized immigrants covered under the deal, and certain immigration enforcement-related measures that Republicans wanted to include but Democrats considered nonstarters.
The White House initially offered a roughly three-year DACA extension in exchange for $25 billion in border wall funding, Axios reported on Thursday, citing Congressional sources familiar with the negotiations.
Democrats appeared amenable to the $25 billion figure, but shot down the offer because it provided a pathway to citizenship for only about 700,000 DACA recipients – not the full 1.8 million population of young unauthorized immigrants brought to the US as children.
Democrats then suggested exchanging the $25 billion border wall funding for a pathway to citizenship for the 1.8 million immigrants, but the Trump administration turned them down, demanding broader immigration reforms in return for the broader population of Dreamers, The Washington Post reported.
Both sides play the blame game
- Reuters/Lucy Nicholson
Both sides immediately blamed the other for the failure.
“Democrats refused to take care of DACA,” Trump tweeted on Wednesday. “Would have been so easy, but they just didn’t care. I had to fight for Military and start of Wall.”
Democrats pointed out that Trump was the one who terminated DACA to begin with.
“President Trump created this crisis,” Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois told Bloomberg News. “But instead of working towards a solution, he has stopped every effort that we’ve tried to make on behalf of the Dreamers.”
Trump announced last September that he would terminate DACA by March 5, but multiple federal court orders are keeping the program in place until the federal appeals courts – and likely the Supreme Court – weigh in.
Senators failed spectacularly at a February attempt to resolve the Dreamers’ fate, voting down four different deals that would exchange their protection with various other immigration-related measures, such as Trump’s border wall and certain restrictions to legal immigration.
Tuesday night’s failed negotiations were likely Congress’ last chance to cut a deal on Dreamers this year. Instead of the $25 billion Trump sought for the border wall, Congress has set aside just $1.6 billion in its omnibus spending bill.