Trump: Immigration program DACA 'is probably dead'


Associated Press

PALM BEACH, Fla.

President Donald Trump said today that a program that protects immigrants who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children is "probably dead," casting a cloud over already tenuous negotiations just days before a deadline on a government funding deal that Democrats have tied to immigration.

At issue is the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program created by President Barack Obama to shield hundreds of thousands of these individuals, known as "Dreamers," from deportation. Trump, who has taken a hard stance against illegal immigration, announced last year that he will end the program unless Congress comes up with a solution by March.

"DACA is probably dead because the Democrats don't really want it, they just want to talk and take desperately needed money away from our Military," the Republican president tweeted. "I, as President, want people coming into our Country who are going to help us become strong and great again, people coming in through a system based on MERIT. No more Lotteries! #AMERICA FIRST."

Republicans and Democrats were already at odds over funding the government, and the negotiations became more complicated after Democrats — whose votes are needed to pass a government funding bill — insisted immigration be included. Government funding expires midnight Friday without a deal in place, and some government functions will begin to go dark.

Further roiling the talks are comments by Trump during an Oval Office meeting in which he questioned the need to admit more Haitians to the U.S., along with Africans from "shithole" countries, according to people briefed on the conversation but not authorized to describe it publicly. He also said in the Thursday meeting he would prefer immigrants from countries like Norway instead. The White House has not denied that Trump said the word "shithole," though Trump did push back on some depictions of the meeting.

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