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Democratic leaders, Trump reach deal on DACA

By Lisa Mascaro and Noah Bierman
Tribune Washington Bureau

September 13. 2017 11:35PM
Rosa Martinez, an immigration activists and DACA recipient, takes part in a rally about the importance of passing a clean DREAM Act before delivering a million signatures to Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington on Tuesday. (REUTERS/Joshua Roberts)

WASHINGTON -- Democratic leaders said Wednesday they have reached agreement with President Donald Trump to provide legal status for 800,000 immigrants who came to the country illegally as children.

The deal, announced after a dinner of Chinese food at the White House, could provide further momentum to a budding movement toward bipartisanship that began last week when Trump reached a fiscal agreement with Democrats to temporarily keep the government open and pay the nation’s debts.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer of New York said in a joint statement that the newest pact would give the so-called Dreamers legal status as part of a broader measure that would beef up border security.

Pelosi and Schumer said the deal would not include Trump’s signature promise to build a border wall, loathed by Democrats. But White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders issued a tweet denying that the wall was excluded from a deal to codify the program, known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.

"While DACA and border security were both discussed, excluding the wall was certainly not agreed to," Sanders wrote.

That disagreement could scuttle the deal. Democrats made it clear to the president that wall funding is a nonstarter, particularly in the House, where Pelosi will need to find votes from within her party to make up for Republicans who oppose granting legal status to Dreamers.

Trump announced last week that he would begin phasing out the policy signed by President Barack Obama, known as DACA, that had allowed Dreamers to obtain renewable work permits and remain in the country without fear of deportation.

The replacement bill sought by Democrats, the Dream Act, would go further than that, providing the young immigrants with a pathway to eventual citizenship. Democrats believe the deal they have with Trump would allow them to include that path to citizenship.

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