White House Demands Border Wall, Changes To Immigration System In Return For DACA

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WASHINGTON ― The White House told Congress on Sunday night that it wants a border wall and new limits on legal immigration in return for allowing people illegally brought into the United States as children to remain here ― demands top Democrats say renege on a deal President Donald Trump himself made with them last month.

“We would be expect Congress to include all of these reforms in any package that addresses the possible status of DACA recipients,” a top administration official told reporters Sunday evening on condition of anonymity.

Among the priorities listed in a letter Trump sent to congressional leaders: enough money to build a wall along the Mexican border; changes to deportation laws that would make it easier to send undocumented immigrants, including unaccompanied children, back to their home countries; crackdowns on sanctuary cities; an end to “chain” migration, which makes it easier for immigrants to sponsor extended family members; and creating a “merit”-based immigration system to cut down on the entry of unskilled workers.

A second top official said the White House is not issuing any ultimatums regarding legislation that fails to include its priorities. “We’re not discussing what’s a veto threat right now,” the official said. “We’re asking Congress to move on them as expeditiously as possible.”

What’s more, people who would benefit from the codification of DACA ― the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program that President Barack Obama started and Trump abruptly canceled last month ― would not be eligible to apply for citizenship, the second official said.

“We are not interested in granting citizenship,” the official said.

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer were quick to release a statement accusing Trump of going back on his word.

“The list includes the wall, which was explicitly ruled out of the negotiations,” the statement reads. “If the president was serious about protecting the Dreamers, his staff has not made a good faith effort to do so.” “Dreamers” refers to people eligible for DACA protections; the nickname references the failed law that tried to allow them to stay in the U.S. legally and seek citizenship.

HuffPost reported last week that top Trump aide Stephen Miller ― who was known as an immigration opponent when he worked for then-Alabama senator, now Attorney General Jeff Sessions ― was working to harden the White House’s position, notwithstanding Trump’s verbal agreement with Schumer and Pelosi at a White House dinner on Sept. 13.

“Either the president is negotiating in bad faith, or Stephen Miller has hijacked the negotiation,” one congressional aide told HuffPost privately.

On Sunday night, though, the second White House official who spoke on condition of anonymity denied there was any such deal with Schumer and Pelosi.

“I was at that dinner. There was a deal to work on a deal as fast as possible. That’s what the deal was,” the official said, adding that the border wall was something Trump ran on as a candidate for president. “It’s certainly something that the American people have asked for.”

Also on HuffPost

May 1920s

U.S. border guards check entering Mexicans
U.S. border guards check entering Mexicans

May 1920s

U.S. border guard and Mexicans behind the border fence.
U.S. border guard and Mexicans behind the border fence.

March 21, 1929

A line of cars carrying Mexicans over the border into California. The fence in the foreground is the border; the line of cars is in the main street of Mexicali.
A line of cars carrying Mexicans over the border into California. The fence in the foreground is the border; the line of cars is in the main street of Mexicali.

1930s

A flock of sheep at the border between Mexico and the United States.
A flock of sheep at the border between Mexico and the United States.

June 1937

A pic of state border plant inspection maintained by the United States Department of Agriculture between Mexico and the United States. Shoppers returning from Mexico (Juarez) to the United States (El Paso) over the bridge that carries all the traffic are required to open their packages for inspection.
A pic of state border plant inspection maintained by the United States Department of Agriculture between Mexico and the United States. Shoppers returning from Mexico (Juarez) to the United States (El Paso) over the bridge that carries all the traffic are required to open their packages for inspection.

June 1937

Crossing the international bridge between Juarez, Mexico and El Paso, Texas.
Crossing the international bridge between Juarez, Mexico and El Paso, Texas.

June 1937

Mexicans entering the United States via the United States immigration station at El Paso, Texas.
Mexicans entering the United States via the United States immigration station at El Paso, Texas.

1943

U.S. soldiers exchanging money at the U.S.-Mexico border.
U.S. soldiers exchanging money at the U.S.-Mexico border.

March 15, 1950

A view of the Sigma Pi sorority crossing under the Mexico border sign to Tijuana, Mexico in Calexico, California.
A view of the Sigma Pi sorority crossing under the Mexico border sign to Tijuana, Mexico in Calexico, California.

1950s

Pregnant woman at the border.
Pregnant woman at the border.

1954

Mexican farm laborers standing on the Mexican side of the border trying to get into the U.S.
Mexican farm laborers standing on the Mexican side of the border trying to get into the U.S.

1954

Mexican workers waiting just inside the U.S. border to be let in.
Mexican workers waiting just inside the U.S. border to be let in.

October 1, 1962

A border guard checks passes of Mexicans entering the United States near Nogales, Mexico.
A border guard checks passes of Mexicans entering the United States near Nogales, Mexico.

1967

Mexican workers crossing the border into Texas have their papers checked.
Mexican workers crossing the border into Texas have their papers checked.

Sept. 22 1984

Suspected undocumented immigrants cross into the U.S. from Tijuana, Mexico.
Suspected undocumented immigrants cross into the U.S. from Tijuana, Mexico.

1990

Men look across to the other side of the Tijuana border.
Men look across to the other side of the Tijuana border.

1990

Woman walking along the America-Mexico border, near Tijuana.
Woman walking along the America-Mexico border, near Tijuana.

1993

U.S. Customs agents patrolling the border.
U.S. Customs agents patrolling the border.

1994

At first light, undocumented immigrants wait to cross over into the United States.
At first light, undocumented immigrants wait to cross over into the United States.

1994

Undocumented immigrants wait on the other side of Mexico.
Undocumented immigrants wait on the other side of Mexico.

Aug. 19, 1997

Esther Pereyra Rubalcaba (left) kisses her daughter Patricia through the wall separating the US and Min Tijuana, Mexico.
Esther Pereyra Rubalcaba (left) kisses her daughter Patricia through the wall separating the US and Min Tijuana, Mexico.

July 20, 2005

Migrant activists lean against the border fence to pay homage to undocumented immigrants who died crossing over.
Migrant activists lean against the border fence to pay homage to undocumented immigrants who died crossing over.

Aug. 28, 2005

Young Mexican nationals peer through the border wall at the beach along San Ysidro, California.
Young Mexican nationals peer through the border wall at the beach along San Ysidro, California.

June 6, 2015

Paper doves in the shape of a heart are seen at the border fence in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.
Paper doves in the shape of a heart are seen at the border fence in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.

Sept. 25, 2016

Maria Rodriguez Torres, 70, looks towards her departing grandchildren after seeing them for the first time at the U.S.-Mexico border fence in Tijuana, Mexico. She had traveled with family members from Mexico City to see her grandchildren through the fence at "Friendship Park."
Maria Rodriguez Torres, 70, looks towards her departing grandchildren after seeing them for the first time at the U.S.-Mexico border fence in Tijuana, Mexico. She had traveled with family members from Mexico City to see her grandchildren through the fence at "Friendship Park."

Oct. 6, 2016

A burnt car is seen next to a section of the wall separating Mexico and the United States in Tijuana, Mexico.
A burnt car is seen next to a section of the wall separating Mexico and the United States in Tijuana, Mexico.

Feb. 4, 2017

A visitor stands next to the U.S.-Mexico border fence at Friends of Friendship Park in San Ysidro, California.
A visitor stands next to the U.S.-Mexico border fence at Friends of Friendship Park in San Ysidro, California.

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