In Shift, Trump Backs Major Immigration Reform

First, fix DACA with 'bill of love,' then tackle larger issue, he tells lawmakers
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 9, 2018 4:40 PM CST
President Trump speaks during a meeting with lawmakers on immigration policy in the Cabinet Room of the White House.   (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

(Newser) – President Trump convened an unusual 50-minute meeting of top Republican and Democratic lawmakers at the White House Tuesday and allowed reporters to stay for the whole thing. When all was said and done, Trump had suggested a two-part reform plan on immigration: First, fix the DACA program with a "bill of love" so young undocumented immigrants could remain in the country. After that passed, lawmakers could immediately begin work on a more comprehensive reform package, perhaps one that would create a pathway to citizenship for the nation's millions of undocumented immigrants, reports the New York Times. “If you want to take it that further step, I’ll take the heat,” said Trump, aware that such a move likely wouldn't sit well with his support base. “You are not that far away from comprehensive immigration reform.”

The meeting came as Republicans and Democrats continue to try to hash out a budget agreement ahead of a Jan. 19 deadline, with immigration the main sticking point. Democrats are pushing for an extension of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, set to expire in March. In Tuesday's meeting, Trump suggested the budget agreement should include money for a border wall as well as a fix for DACA, reports Politico. The latter should be a "bipartisan bill of love," said Trump, per NPR, and "we can do it." That's already not sitting well on the right, reports the AP. "Nothing Michael Wolff could say about @realDonaldTrump has hurt him as much as the DACA lovefest right now," tweeted conservative pundit Ann Coulter, referring to the author of Fire and Fury. (Read more President Trump stories.)

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