By Susan Heavey
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Republican U.S. President Donald Trump said on Thursday any agreement on protections for illegal immigrants brought to the United States as children must be tied to border security and disputed Democratic congressional leaders who said they had reached a deal on the issue.
"No deal was made last night on DACA. Massive border security would have to be agreed to in exchange for consent. Would be subject to vote," Trump wrote in one of a series of posts on Twitter, adding that "the Wall... will continue to be built."
The president was referring to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program created by former President Barack Obama. Trump said last week he would end it in six months and called on the U.S. Congress to act. He later said he might "revisit" the issue if lawmakers do not.
Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer and House of Representatives minority leader Nancy Pelosi had said they came to an agreement with Trump at a dinner meeting at the White House Wednesday evening.
The two said in a statement Wednesday night they agreed to quickly enact protections for immigrant children dubbed Dreamers along with a border security package that did not fund the wall.
Pelosi later said in a letter to House Democrats that she and Schumer "insisted that the bipartisan DREAM Act would be the basis for that protection and that we would review border security measures that didn’t include building a wall."
"Hopefully, we can get this all done in a matter of weeks," she added.
The White House also disputed any deal regarding the border wall, a central promise of Trump's 2016 presidential campaign.
"While DACA and border security were both discussed, excluding the wall was certainly not agreed to," White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said on Twitter on Wednesday night.
Still, Trump on Thursday appeared to acknowledge the complexity of the issue of such immigrant children, many of whom are now young adults. A Reuters poll this week showed 72 percent of nearly 1,700 people surveyed backed legal protection, not deportation.
"Does anybody really want to throw out good, educated and accomplished young people who have jobs, some serving in the military?" Trump asked in another tweet.
Trump has repeatedly promised to build a wall along the southern U.S. border aimed at keeping out immigrants and drugs. He said Mexico would pay for it but he has since requested money from Congress, despite having little support even among Republican lawmakers.
The dispute over characterizing the dinner could cloud Trump's latest effort to reach out to opposition party Democrats on major legislation. He has yet to see major legislation pass despite Republican control of the White House and Congress.
In addition to Wednesday night's dinner, Trump in recent days has also met with bipartisan groups of U.S. lawmakers, and last week reached a surprise deal with Schumer and Pelosi to fund the government through mid-December.
(Additional reporting by Richard Cowan and Makini Brice; Editing by John Stonestreet and Jeffrey Benkoe)