Dreamers immigration deal probably dead, says Trump

Supporters of US President Donald Trump hold signs near his Mar-a- Lago resort in West Palm Beach on Jan 13. (AFP)

WASHINGTON, Jan 14, (Agencies): US President Donald Trump said Sunday a deal to resolve the status of hundreds of thousands of immigrants who entered the United States illegally as children is “probably dead,” blaming it on Democrats. Trump came back on the issue in a pair of early morning tweets three days after igniting outrage by referring to African and Haitian immigrants as coming from “shithole countries.”

G l o b a l condemnation of the remark as racist has put the president on the defensive amid bipartisan attempts to negotiate a budget deal that would avert a looming government shutdown and remove the threat of deportation of the so-called “dreamers.” “DACA is probably dead because the Democrats don’t really want it, they just want to talk and take desperately needed money away from our Military,” Trump said, referring to the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals program. “I, as President, want people coming into our Country who are going to help us become strong and great again, people coming in through a system based on MERIT. No more Lotteries! #AMERICA FIRST,” he said.

Meanwhile, US immigration authorities said on Saturday that it will resume accepting requests under a program that shields young people brought to the United States illegally from deportation after a court order blocked a government decision to end the program. The US Citizenship and Immigration Services said on its website that people who previously received a grant of protection under the Deferred Action of Childhood Arrivals (DACA) may apply for a renewal under the terms in place before it was rescinded in September.

In related news, a bipartisan agreement among a handful of senators to prevent deportation of hundreds of thousands of young immigrants includes a pathway to citizenship that would take up to 12 years. The Associated Press on Saturday obtained details of the deal that includes $1.6 billion for structures including a wall for border security. The agreement between three Republican and three Democratic senators would prevent deportation of hundreds of thousands of so-called Dreamers, who were brought to this country as children and are here illegally. Trump and some GOP congressional leaders have said the bipartisan deal is insufficient. Its proponents — led by Sens Dick Durbin, D-Illinois, and Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina — say they are continuing to round up supporters in hopes of building momentum for their plan. Political battle lines intensified following Trump’s vulgar description of African nations and derogatory comments about Haiti at a White House meeting last Thursday, and its fate is uncertain.

A showdown was expected by Friday, the deadline for Congress approving a spending bill to prevent a government shutdown the following day. Some Democrats are threatening to withhold needed votes for the budget measure unless there’s an immigration accord. Meanwhile, Trump’s vulgar remarks questioning why the US should admit immigrants from Haiti and Africa have spotlighted the bitter divide among American evangelicals about his presidency. While some of his evangelical backers expressed support for his leadership, other conservative Christians are calling the president racist and say church leaders had a moral imperative to condemn him.

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