WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump and Democratic leaders in the U.S. Congress have agreed to work together on legislation to protect “Dreamers,” the illegal immigrants who were children when they entered the United States, the lawmakers said on Wednesday, although a dispute erupted over exactly what had been agreed.
Following a dinner with Trump at the White House, Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer and House of Representatives Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi said the “productive meeting” focused on “DACA,” a program established by former President Barack Obama.
“We agreed to enshrine the protections of DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) into law quickly, and to work out a package of border security, excluding the wall, that’s acceptable to both sides,” Schumer and Pelosi said in a statement.
All year, Democrats have insisted that they will block any legislation that contains funding for the border wall, which many Republicans in Congress also do not support.
While White House official have suggested legislation on DACA could move forward without wall funding, White House spokeswoman Sarah Sander disputed the characterization that a deal had been reached to leave it out of any legislation focused on the Dreamers.
“While DACA and border security were both discussed, excluding the wall was certainly not agreed to,” she said on Twitter.
Throughout his 2016 campaign for president and since taking office in January, Trump has demanded the construction of a wall all along the U.S. border with Mexico to keep out illegal immigrants and drugs. He initially said Mexico would pay for the wall but has requested money from the U.S. Congress after the government of Mexico refused to pay.
Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore