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Daca: Trump denies reaching ‘Dreamers’ deal with Democrats

Immigration activists protest against Trump plans on 6 September.Image copyright Getty Images

US President Donald Trump has denied reaching a deal with top Democrats to protect young undocumented migrants.

Mr Trump said “massive border security would have to be agreed in exchange for consent” on the immigrant programme.

Top Congress Democrats Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer announced the agreement on the migrants, known as Dreamers, after talks with Mr Trump on Wednesday.

They said the plan excluded the president’s proposed wall with Mexico. Mr Trump said the wall would be built.

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (Daca) programme protects some 800,000 people in the US, and also provides temporary permits for work and study.

The Obama-era Daca scheme was put in place to protect so-called “Dreamers” – migrants brought to the US illegally as children – from deportation.

Mr Trump announced on 4 September he would cancel the scheme, while giving Congress six months to enact a replacement plan for Daca recipients.

On Thursday morning he repeated that he was in favour of regulating their status.

Following talks over dinner at the White House, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer 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.”

Democrats have repeatedly said that they will block any legislation that contains funding for the border wall – a key campaign pledge of Mr Trump’s.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders later disputed the Democrats’ account.

On Thursday, Mr Trump suggested the “Dreamers” deal and boosting border security would be subjected to a vote.

And he insisted that the wall was “already under construction in the form of new renovation of old and existing fences and walls” and “will continue to be built”.

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Media caption‘America is the only country I’ve known’

The announcement of a deal with the minority faction of Congress had angered some Republicans, who have a majority in both the House and the Senate.

On Wednesday, House of Representatives member Steve King of Iowa tweeted at the president that, if the reports were true, “Trump base is blown up, destroyed, irreparable, and disillusioned beyond repair. No promise is credible.”

Pro-Trump Fox News host Sean Hannity appeared dismayed, tweeting, “weak Republicans have betrayed voters” – they “wanted [Trump] to fail” and had “pushed him into arms of political suicide“.

The right-wing website Breitbart, run by Mr Trump’s former chief strategist Steve Bannon, ran the headline, “Amnesty Don” and accused the president of “a full-fledged cave”.

Breitbart was among his fiercest critics last week when Mr Trump stunned fellow Republicans by making a deal with the Democrats to increase the US debt limit and extend the current budget to 8 December.

It said the move “jacks up debt, punts the agenda, snubs GOP [Republicans]”.

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Media captionThe US president said he had “great love” for Daca Dreamers

What is Daca?

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (Daca) programme – scrapped earlier in September – was created in 2012 by then President Barack Obama, to shield children of undocumented immigrants from deportation.

It also provided work and study permits for those it covered – popularly known as “dreamers”.

In order to qualify for Daca, applicants under the age of 30 were required to submit personal information to the Department of Homeland Security, including addresses and phone numbers.

They had to pass an FBI background check, have a clean criminal background, and either be in school, recently graduated or have been honourably discharged from the military.

In exchange, the US government agreed to “defer” any action on their immigration status for a period of two years.

The majority of dreamers are from Mexico and other Latin American countries.

The justice department has said no current Daca recipients will be affected by the decision to scrap the scheme before 5 March 2018, but no new applications will be taken.

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Media captionWhere do America’s undocumented immigrants live?

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