Alexander Mallin, Meridith McGraw, and Chris Francescani, ABC News, January 20, 2019
President Donald Trump announced on Saturday that in exchange for border wall funding and ending the partial government shutdown, he would extend temporary protections for so-called “Dreamers” and those with Temporary Protected Status — two key issues for congressional Democrats who nevertheless held their ground on refusing the president’s demand for $5.7 billion in wall funding.
“Our plan includes the following,” Trump announced in a speech from the Diplomatic Reception Room. “$800 million in urgent humanitarian aid, $805 million for drug detection technology to help secure our ports of entry, an additional 2,750 border agents and law enforcement professionals [and] 75 new immigration judge teams to reduce the court backlog…”
Additionally, Trump promised “critical measures to protect migrant children from exploitation and abuse,” and “a new system to allow Central American migrants to apply for asylum in their countries.”
In return, Trump said he wants his $5.7 billion in border funding, which he said would be “a strategic deployment of physical barriers, or a wall.”
Trump added that he and Republicans “hope [Democrats] will offer their enthusiastic support and I think many will. This is a common sense compromise both parties should embrace. The radical left can never control our borders. I will never let it happen.”
Trump also said that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell would bring the proposal to a vote in the Senate this week.
“Our immigration system should be the subject of pride, not as a source of shame….our immigration systems should be the envy of the world, not a symbol of disunity and dysfunction. These problems can all be solved.”
Twenty-five minutes before the planned start of the president’s speech, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi released a statement, saying that “initial reports” about Trump’s announcement “make clear that his proposal is a compilation of several previously rejected initiatives, each of which is unacceptable and in total, do not represent a good faith effort to restore certainty to people’s lives.”
Early Sunday, the president criticized Pelosi and other Democrats for not seeing “crime & drugs”
“They only see 2020 — which they are not going to win. Best economy!” he said in a tweet. “They should do the right thing for the Country & allow people to go back to work.”
A spokesperson for an immigrant organization named Make the Road, which has chapters in five U.S. states, called on Congress to “reject any border wall deal from Trump, and to re-open the government right away.”
Bi-partisan legislation known as the BRIDGE Act (Bar Removal of Individuals who Dream and Grow our Economy) would extend protections and provide work authorization for three years for TPS individuals and “Dreamers” — some 750,000 young, undocumented immigrants who arrived in the U.S. as children and have met the requirements to participate in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.