President Trump, in a televised White House address Saturday, offered Democrats a compromise package on immigration in an effort to end the nearly monthlong partial government shutdown -- although Democrats dismissed the olive branch as a "non-starter" before Trump even spoke.
Trump said that he was prepared to back a three-year extension of protections for 700,000 immigrants who came to the country illegally as children and were shielded from deportation under the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, in exchange for the $5.7 billion he has requested for a wall on the southern border. The deal would also extend protections for 300,000 recipients of the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) program -- which protects immigrants from designated countries with conditions that prevent nationals from returning safely.
"Our immigration system should be a source of pride, not a source of shame," Trump said, urging politicians to "take off their armor" and find solutions.
It would also offer $800 million for drug detection technology to secure ports of entry, 2,750 new border agents and law enforcement professionals, and 75 new immigration judges to reduce the backlog of asylum requests. He said that all his measures have been supported by Democrats before.
"If we are successful in this effort, we will have the best chance in a longtime at bipartisan immigration reform, and it won’t stop here, it will keep going until we do it all,” he said,
Government sources told Fox News before the announcement that the speech would form the basis for new legislation he hopes to get before the Senate next week.
The partial government shutdown, which has dragged on for almost a month and led to 800,000 federal workers not being paid, is the result of Republicans and Democrats being unable to come to an agreement over Trump’s demand for wall funding. Trump has said he will not sign a bill to open the government unless it includes that funding, while Democrats have refused to consider the $5.7 figure, offering approximately $1.3 billion for general border security.
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