President Donald Trump proposed an immigration deal in a bid to reopen the government, offering a series of concessions that Democrats immediately said weren’t enough to launch any kind of serious negotiations and end the longest shutdown in history. In a speech from the White House Saturday afternoon, Trump said he would extend deportation protections for some undocumented immigrants who arrived in the country as children in exchange for $5.7 billion for a border wall. As part of the deal, Trump also offered to extend temporary protected status for people in the country who are fleeing countries affected by natural disasters or violence.
“I am here today to break the logjam and provide Congress with a path forward to end the government shutdown and solve the crisis along the southern border,” Trump said. Yet even before he spoke and details of the proposal leaked, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi characterized it as a “non-starter,” noting it amounted to “a compilation of several previously rejected initiatives, each of which is unacceptable.” Democrats continue to insist the president must reopen the government first and then they can sit down with him to negotiate border security issues.
• $800 million in “urgent humanitarian assistance.”
• $805 million for drug detection technology [at] ports of entry.
• 2,750 additional border agents and law enforcement.
• 75 new immigration judge teams to reduce court backlog of 900,000 cases.
• A new system to allow Central American minors to apply for asylum in their home countries and reform to promote family reunification for unaccompanied children.
• 3 years of legislative relief for 700,000 DACA recipients, which will give them access to work permits, social security numbers and protection from deportation.
• 3-year extension of TPS.
• $5.7 billion for border wall.
Even if there was not much surprising in the substance of Trump’s Saturday speech, it did mark a sharp change in tone from his previous address on the shutdown. Rather than highlighting the violence at the border, Trump talked about a “common-sense compromise” and a “compassionate response.” He also seemed to play down the wall itself. “This is not a 2,000-mile concrete structure from sea to sea,” he said. “These are steel barriers in high-priority locations. Much of the border is already protected by natural barriers such as mountains and water.”
Earlier in the day, though, Trump appeared to be escalating the rhetoric against Pelosi, with the president saying he hoped she can “come along and realize … that walls work.” He then went on to accuse Pelosi of “being controlled by the radical left, which is a problem.”