Republicans and Democrats are set to meet with President Donald Trump on Tuesday about Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, the program that allows immigrants who came to the U.S. as children to work and live without fear of deportation.
But since it’s the day after the Trump administration rescinded temporary protected immigration status for Salvadoran refugees who fled damage from earthquakes in 2001, those negotiations are getting caught up in politics and the budget process.
Reps. Will Hurd (R-Texas) and Peter Aguilar (D-Calif.) unveiled a bipartisan compromise on DACA, Trump’s border wall and other laws around immigration ahead of the meeting.
Their bill provides a way to enact DACA through legislation instead of as an Obama Administration order that Trump declined to renew in September, giving DACA its current March end date. The bill also provides support for building a “smart wall,” or “technology, physical barriers, levees, tools and other devices” to be used by the Department of Homeland Security at the U.S.-Mexico border, CNN reported.
“This is a DACA and border security fix,” Hurd told CNN. “And if there’s other elements that have to be included in a broader deal to get signed into law, this is a foundation for that conversation.”
The bipartisan meeting over DACA on Tuesday faces challenges as Republicans and Democrats try to reach consensus on a spending bill by a Jan. 19 deadline. DACA has become a bargaining chip as Congress moves closer to having to pass a spending bill or shut down the government.
Representatives and senators attending the meeting with the White House are faced with tough negotiations. Some Democrats said they feel that Republicans invited to the meetings who have longstanding opposition to and arguments against DACA are slowing down the process.
“No wall,” Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) told CNN about negotiations. “Listen, I believe in border security. I think it’s very important that we have a secure border, but spending billions and billions of dollars on this wall because of a political promise and a campaign promise is ridiculous.”
Trump reportedly has more sympathy for the 690,000 DACA recipients affected by his rollback than other immigrants, including the 200,000 Salvadorans who lost TPS yesterday. The difference between TPS and DACA is that DACA recipients all came to the U.S. as children, not refugees fleeing an earthquake, and their immigration status has become a political flashpoint in budget negotiations.