Daca: Democrats plan on working with Trump to protect young immigrants

US Democrats say they have agreed to reach a deal with the President to protect thousands of young, undocumented migrants from being deported

Pelosi and Schumer said the meeting with the president was ‘very productive’. (Photo: CNBC)
Pelosi and Schumer said the meeting with the president was ‘very productive’. (Photo: CNBC)

Senior Democrats shocked the US on Wednesday when they claimed that they had agreed with US President Donald Trump on a plan to protect so-called Dreamers – young immigrants who were brought to the US illegally as children.

Senator minority leader Chuck Schumer and House counterpart Nancy Pelosi said that they had reached an agreement regarding a border security package, which would provide law protections for the nearly 800,000 immigrants who benefited from Barack Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (Daca) programme. The programme was scrapped by Trump earlier this month.

Following talks at the White House, Pelosi and Schumer said: “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”.

Democrats have repeatedly said that they will block any legislation that contains funding for the border wall – one of Trump’s key campaign pledges.

A White House statement was more muted, simply saying that there had been a "constructive working dinner" where tax reform, border security and Daca had been discussed.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders later disputed the Democrats' account.

“While Daca and border security were both discussed, excluding the wall was certainly not agreed to”, she wrote on Twitter.

Schumer’s aide replied by saying: “the President made clear he would continue pushing the wall, just not as part of this agreement”.

Republican support would be needed in any immigration legislation, as they have a majority in both the House and the Senate.

More hard-line Republicans shared their frustrations over the deal - among them House of Representatives member Steve King of Iowa. He tweeted at the president that if the reports were true, "Trump base is blown up, destroyed, irreparable, and disillusioned beyond repair. No promise is credible."

What is Daca?

The Daca programme was created in 2012 by Obama, to shield children of undocumented immigrants from deportation. It also provided work and study permits for those it covered – known as ‘dreamers’.

To qualify for Daca, applicants under the age of 30 were required to pass an FBI background check, have a clean criminal record, either be in school, recently graduated or discharged from the military and submit personal information to the Department of Homeland Security.

In exchange, the US government agreed to ‘defer’ action on their immigration status for a period of two years.

The majority of ‘dreamers’ were from Mexico and other Latin American countries.

The justice department confirmed that no current Daca recipients will be affected by the decision to scrap the scheme before March 5, 2018, but no new applications will be accepted.

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