Saturday 17 March 2018

Trump 'amnesty' for immigrants infuriates base

Democrats say they have secured deal over status of 'Dreamers' - and without any money for president's Mexico wall

Democrat leader Nancy Pelosi. Photo: Getty Images
Democrat leader Nancy Pelosi. Photo: Getty Images

Nick Allen

Donald Trump sparked outrage among some of his staunchest supporters yesterday after appearing to strike a deal with the Democrats not to deport people who came to the US illegally as children, while at the same time failing to make funding for a border wall a condition of the agreement.

The president was accused by conservative Republicans of agreeing to an "amnesty" for hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants known as "Dreamers", and abandoning his commitment to construct a "beautiful wall" along the frontier with Mexico.

Amid allegations of U-turns on two of his major campaign pledges, there were suggestions from immigration hardliners that Mr Trump's political base could "leave him," while one high-profile supporter called for him to be impeached.

The backlash came after Mr Trump invited Chuck Schumer, the Democrat Senate leader, and Nancy Pelosi, the Democrat leader in the House of Representatives, to dinner at the White House on Wednesday night.

Most of the conversation was about his predecessor Barack Obama's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) order, which gives legal protection to the Dreamers.

During last year's presidential campaign Mr Trump said that the Dreamers, who were brought across the border as infants by their parents, would "have to go".

But in a statement after dinner, the Democrat leaders said: "We agreed to enshrine the protections of DACA into law quickly, and to work out a package of border security, excluding the wall, that's acceptable to both sides."

Instead of the wall, a border security package could include using technology such as drones, sensors and air support, they said. The statement, particularly the phrase "excluding the border wall," set off alarm bells among conservatives.

Steve King, a Republican congressman, said: "The Trump base is blown up, destroyed, irreparable, and disillusioned beyond repair. No promise is credible."

Ann Coulter, the prominent conservative author of the book 'In Trump We Trust', wrote: "At this point, who DOESN'T want Trump impeached? If we're not getting a wall, I'd prefer President Pence."

Breitbart News, the hard-right website popular with many of Mr Trump's supporters, ran the headline "Amnesty Don".

On Twitter, Mr Trump denied doing a deal with the Democrats. He wrote: "No deal was made last night on DACA."

But as he visited Florida yesterday to survey the damage of Hurricane Irma the president said: "We're working on a plan for the Dreamers. People want to see that happen.

"The wall will come later. The wall is going to be built, it will be funded a little bit later... Ultimately, we have to have the wall."

Irish Independent

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