Pelosi says Trump would sign DREAM Act protecting immigrants

Liz Goodwin
Senior National Affairs Reporter

WASHINGTON — House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said Thursday that she believed President Trump would sign a DREAM Act legalizing young unauthorized immigrants after her meeting with him Wednesday.

“The president both yesterday in the meeting and today made it very clear he wants Congress to act, to get this done,” Pelosi told reporters.

Pelosi added that Trump wants border security measures attached to any bill focused on the immigrants, but that “it does not include a wall.”

The Democratic House leader brushed off the suggestion that she and Trump are seeing a relationship “renaissance” and will cooperate more in the future, but said she does hold out hope Congress will pass something to protect the nearly 800,000 young people who will lose their temporary legal status next year.

“I’m hoping and I’m praying — and I don’t say that as [a] cliché, I am praying — that the president really cares about the DREAMers,” she said. “Or knows that he should care about the DREAMers.”

Asked about Pelosi’s comments, White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said only that Trump wants to work with both Democrats and Republicans on the immigration issue.

“The president Is focused on responsible immigration reform and wants to work with both sides to achieve it,” Sanders told Yahoo News.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, accompanied by congressional Democrats, calls for Republicans to stand up to President Trump’s decision to terminate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) initiative by bringing DREAM Act legislation to a vote in the House and Senate. (AP/Jose Luis Magana)

The conciliatory tone came a day after Trump sided with Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., instead of Republicans in a deal to fund the government and raise the debt ceiling. The president is also meeting with Schumer and New York and New Jersey politicians later Thursday to talk about a major tunnel project between the two states.

Republicans are fuming about Trump’s decision to side with the Democrats, after a summer of the president’s insulting many Republican senators by name.

President Trump meets with, from left, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and other congressional leaders on Sept. 6. (Photo: Evan Vucci/AP)

But Pelosi said Republicans simply didn’t have the votes to lift the debt ceiling for more than the three months the Democrats were willing to agree to. “Here the currency of the realm is the vote. You have the votes, no questions asked,” she said. “You don’t have the votes? Three months.”

Trump called Pelosi Thursday morning, and the Democrat asked him to reassure young unauthorized immigrants spooked by his decision to revoke the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

After the pair talked by phone, Trump tweeted shortly before 10 a.m. that DACA recipients had “nothing to worry about” during the next six months. Pelosi said she was in the middle of recounting her conservation with the president to other Democratic lawmakers when “boom, boom — the tweet appeared.”


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The president’s decision earlier this week to end the DACA program, which protects nearly 800,000 young unauthorized immigrants without criminal records, will not begin to take effect for half a year. At that point, recipients will begin to lose their status on a rolling basis and become eligible for deportation. They will also no longer be allowed to legally work.

But immigrants eligible for DACA who don’t have it already can now no longer apply, and those whose status is set to expire within the next six months must quickly apply for a renewal before Oct. 5.

Trump’s attorney general, Jeff Sessions, announced the decision as a return to the  “rule of law” and suggested that the immigrants, who were brought to the country as children, were taking jobs away from other Americans.

Trump has asked Congress to pass something that helps those affected, though he has not said whether he believes a bill should provide DACA recipients with a path toward citizenship or a lesser form of legal status.

Additional reporting by Hunter Walker.

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