Washington, Sep 14 (IANS) US President Donald Trump on Thursday refuted reports that he had struck a deal with top Democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer to provide a pathway to citizenship for young immigrants, known as “Dreamers”, tweeting that “no deal was made last night”.
“No deal was made last night on DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals),” Trump tweeted, contradicting a statement by his guests, Senator Schumer and House Minority Leader Pelosi, about the issues discussed at a private White House dinner on Wednesday night that he hosted.
“Massive border security would have to be agreed to in exchange for consent. Would be subject to vote,” the President said in one of a series of posts to his Twitter account.
“The WALL, which is already under construction in the form of new renovation of old and existing fences and walls, will continue to be built,” Trump said in another tweet.
Hours earlier, shortly after the conclusion of the dinner, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders had pushed back against the Schumer-Pelosi statement embracing the claim of a deal.
Sanders reiterated that point on Thursday, saying: “While DACA and border security were both discussed, excluding the wall was certainly not agreed to.”
Trump scrapped the DACA programme earlier this month. The Barack Obama-era DACA scheme was put in place to protect so-called “Dreamers” — migrants brought to the US illegally as children — from deportation.
The measures, which protect some 800,000 people in the US, also provide temporary permits for work and study.
Trump announced on September 4 that he would cancel the scheme, while giving Congress six months to enact a replacement plan for DACA recipients.
The President also voiced sympathy for the hundreds of thousands of younger immigrants vulnerable to deportation.
“Does anybody really want to throw out good, educated and accomplished young people who have jobs, some serving in the military, really?” he tweeted. “They have been in our country for many years through no fault of their own — brought in by parents at a young age. Plus BIG border security.”
Following talks, Schumer and Pelosi said they had “a very productive meeting at the White House with the President”. The discussion focused on DACA. “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,” the pair was quoted as saying by the Washington Post.
Democrats have repeatedly said that they will block any legislation that contains funding for the border wall.
On Thursday, Trump suggested that the “Dreamers” deal and boosting border security would be subjected to a vote.
Breitbart, the news outlet headed by former Trump adviser Stephen K. Bannon, called reports of an immigration deal a “full-fledged cave” by Trump on “amnesty” for the Dreamers.
Representative Steve King, Republican of Iowa, wrote on Twitter: “Trump base is blown up, destroyed, irreparable, and disillusioned beyond repair. No promise is credible.”