President Donald Trump has offered to drop demands for changes to legal immigration preferences to ease the way to a deal providing new temporary protection to young undocumented immigrants in the country in exchange for border wall funding, said a person familiar with the offer.
Trump had insisted on a broader agreement that also would end immigration preferences for relatives of legal U.S. residents and eliminate visas awarded by lottery to applicants from under-represented countries, a demand that Democratic leaders rejected.
White House officials have shared the potential new offer with Republican congressional leaders, the person said.
The shift brings the two sides closer to a deal that would fund construction for early phases of Trump’s promised border wall and temporarily restore protections against deportation for young immigrants brought to the country illegally as children, a group advocates have dubbed “dreamers.” In September, Trump canceled the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program established by Obama, though the deportation protections remain in place under a temporary court order amid a lawsuit over the action.
One idea that has been proposed is a three-year extension of the DACA program in exchange for three years of funding for border wall construction.
The White House didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. The offer was reported earlier by The Washington Post.
Trump on Tuesday inspected eight wall prototypes constructed in the desert south of San Diego as he fights to overcome opposition from Democrats and skepticism from some Republican lawmakers over the cost of a barrier that was a central promise of his presidential campaign.
House and Senate negotiators are trying to wrap up work on a $1.2 trillion spending bill in order to get it passed by March 23 in order to avert another government shutdown.