Trump says ‘fairly close’ to clinching deal on DACA
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Trump says ‘fairly close’ to clinching deal on DACA

The Obama-era DACA programme prevents the deportation of undocumented immigrants brought to the US as children, including close to 8,000 people of Indian descent.

world Updated: Sep 14, 2017 20:42 IST
Yashwant Raj
Yashwant Raj
Hindustan Times, Washington
US President Donald Trump,DACA programme,Nancy Pelosi
US President Donald Trump speaks to the press with First Lady Melania Trump before they depart Washington for Hurricane Irma-affected Florida on September 14, 2017.(AFP)

US President Donald Trump on Thursday said he was working to find a solution to the fate of 800,000 immigrants brought to the United States illegally as children, saying he was “fairly close” to clinching a deal.

“We’re working on a plan - subject to getting massive border controls,” Trump told reporters before heading out to survey hurricane-hit Florida areas. “We’re working on a plan for DACA. People want to see that happen. You have 800,000 young people, brought here, no fault of their own.”

He added: “So we’re working on a plan, we’ll see how it works out. We’re going to get massive border security as part of that. And I think something can happen, we’ll see what happens, but something will happen.”

Trump’s remarks represented yet another shift in his position on the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) programme, with both allies and opponents unsure of what his next step will be.

He had earlier this month ordered the shutting down of the programme, which prevents the deportation of undocumented immigrants brought to the US as children, including close to 8,000 people of Indian descent.

However, he gave congress six months to legislate a solution to replace DACA, which was instituted through an executive order by former President Barack Obama in 2012. There is bipartisan support — barring on the extreme far right — to finding a way to legalize the stay of Dreamers, as DACA beneficiaries are called.

Trump held discussions with the congressional Democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer on Wednesday, after which the two said they had a deal to work on replacing DACA that did not include Trump’s promise of a wall along the border with Mexico.

But Pelosi and Schumer’s statement did not go down too well with Trump’s base — Breitbart News, a news-site run by Trump’s former chief strategist Steve Bannon, referred to the president as “Amnesty Don” for letting the Dreamers stay, while firebrand conservative supporter Ann Coulter said it was ground enough to impeach him.

Trump pushed back in a string of tweets on Thursday morning.

“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.

“The WALL, which is already under construction in the form of new renovation of old and existing fences and walls, will continue to be built,” he posted.

However, he seemed to show support for the Dreamers in the very next tweets.

“Does anybody really want to throw out good, educated and accomplished young people who have jobs, some serving in the military? Really! They have been in our country for many years through no fault of their own - brought in by parents at young age. Plus BIG border security,” he wrote.

Trump has struggled to find a position on the issue he can stay with. While he promised to approach the fate of these immigrants — an emotive issue — with “great heart”, he has also tried to allay concerns among his supporters, who want to see the Dreamers deported as undocumented immigrants.

Trump’s own attorney general Jeff Sessions, who is a leading anti-illegal immigration hawk, called DACA “unconstitutional” while announcing its end earlier.

First Published: Sep 14, 2017 20:42 IST