Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer has rescinded his offer of billions of dollars for President Donald Trump’s long-promised border wall.
Schumer’s office told the White House that a proposal to combine wall funding with legal protections for 700,000 younger immigrants living in the U.S. illegally was no longer on the table, a source close to the talks told the New York Daily News on Tuesday.
The president rejected a bipartisan effort last week, and private talks with the New York Democrat ended without an agreement Friday, leading to a three day government shutdown.
Schumer appeared to be playing hardball after facing criticism for ending the shutdown without making a deal on immigration.
White House Office of Budget and Management Director Mick Mulvaney said Tuesday that Trump’s position on protecting immigrants covered by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program depends on what Democrats offer in exchange.
“We want a large agreement. We want a big deal that solves the reason we have a DACA problem in the first place,” Mulvaney said on CNN’s “New Day.”
“If you simply gave amnesty, whatever you want to call it, to the folks who are here, but don’t solve border security, then you’re simply delaying another DACA problem 10 or 15 years from now,” he added.
Trump has said repeatedly he wants funding from Congress for a border wall that he had promised would be paid for by Mexico. He’s also called for changes to legal immigration laws as well.
Deciding what happens to undocumented immigrants already in the country “depends on what we get in exchange,” Mulvaney said.
Trump, who spent the weekend at the White House while Congress hammered out a short term stopgap bill, was cryptic in an early-morning tweet regarding the fate of Dreamers.
“Nobody knows for sure that the Republicans & Democrats will be able to reach a deal on DACA by February 8, but everyone will be trying,” he wrote.
Last week, he promised a “bill of love” to save DACA.
Schumer warned Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., on Tuesday that he must hold true to his own promise to take up immigration legislation next month.
“If he does not honor our agreement, it will be a breach of trust, not only with the Democratic senators but with several members of his own party as well,” Schumer said from the floor of the Senate.
Lawmakers agreed to end the shutdown Monday, voting in both chambers of Congress to fund the government for another three weeks while Democrats and Republicans hash out a deal on a long-term spending bill that hinges on contentious immigration reform.
Schumer was quickly condemned for signing off on the stopgap without a deal to help Dreamers.
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio was quick to defend the senator.
“If you said this was the last act of the drama, then I could understand the frustration,” he said. “But it’s not the last act in the drama.”
The Trump administration sparked the current debacle by rescinding DACA, sparking a mad dash on Capitol Hill to come up with a way to protect Dreamers before the program officially ends on March 5.
The popular program has bipartisan support and nearly 80 percent of Americans support a deal to extend or ensure current protections.
Even several Republicans have said they support offering DACA recipients full citizenship.
“I can’t speak for the president or the house, but I’ll tell you, I find tremendous empathy for the Dreamers, and a desire to give them a pathway to citizenship as long as they obey the rules and I think we can get there,” Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, told CNN on Tuesday.
Cristina Jimenez, executive director of the immigration advocacy group United We Dream, blasted Trump for the current state of affairs.
“Trump killed DACA and then he and his staff blew up bipartisan progress. Instead of standing up for principle and for the lives of young people, congressional leaders met the moment with games,” Jimenez said.
Franco Caballero, 33, who works in marketing and lives in Manhattan, said his sister, Maxine, is a Dreamer living in Texas. Their family is originally from Mexico.
“We heard a lot of partisanship talk and the president with his whole staged talks about the ‘bill of love,’ but when it came down to it, the bill was never truly even brought to the public and negotiated,” he said. “At this point we’re not looking for a perfect solution, we’re just looking for a solution to move forward.”
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