Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg
politics

Trump Warns Democrats Again: No Mexican Border Wall, No DACA

Updated on
  • Democrats have decried using wall as Republican policy lever
  • Email asks about limiting immigration when jobless rate high

President Donald Trump said Congress should enact a measure to provide legal status to young, undocumented immigrants, provided other proposals, including funding for a wall on the U.S. border with Mexico, are also adopted -- a compromise Democratic lawmakers have already rejected.

“We want the wall,” Trump said at a press conference Saturday at Camp David in Maryland. “The wall is going to happen, or we’re not going to have DACA,” he said, referring to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which Democrats are fighting to restore.

Prototype U.S.-Mexico border walls stand in San Diego.

Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg

Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto has been emphatic in refusing to fund the border wall, and his government has said that point is not negotiable. Trump had previously suggested that the U.S. can recoup wall expenses from Mexico via alternative methods.

The latest comments on the wall came on a day when the “Trump Make America Great Again Committee,” which raises money for Trump’s campaign and the Republican National Committee, emailed supporters asking for their “immigration demands.”

Shutdown Showdown

Trump ran through other immigration policies he wants to be part of any package that includes DACA, which was authorized by President Barack Obama in 2012 through an executive order overturned in September. He reiterated his push to eliminate family reunification or “chain migration” provisions in current law that give preferences to family members of legal immigrants, as well as the immigrant visa lottery system.

“We all want DACA to happen, but we also want great security for our country,” Trump said. He added that, “in some form, Mexico will pay for the wall.”

Democrats have already dismissed a Trump administration proposal for $18 billion in funding over 10 years for the U.S. border security including the construction of 722 miles (1,160 kilometers) of new and replacement barriers on the Mexican border. The standoff could lead to a federal government shutdown.

Republicans and Democrats in the Senate are struggling to agree on a bipartisan measure that would combine a border security package with deportation protections for 800,000 young undocumented immigrants. Democrats say the protections must be part of a must-pass spending bill that must clear by Jan. 19 to avoid a government shutdown.

‘Outrageous’ Approach

Richard Durbin of Illinois, the No. 2 Democrat in the Senate, said on Friday that the administration’s hard-line approach was “outrageous.”

“President Trump has said he may need a good government shutdown to get his wall,” Durbin said in a statement. “With this demand, he seems to be heading in that direction.”

How Trump’s Move Puts Immigrants Dreams at Risk: QuickTake Q&A

Senator Bernie Sanders, Independent of Vermont, warned on Saturday against shutting down the government over paying for “a multi-billion dollar wall that no one wants.”

“What the American people do want, in overwhelming numbers, is to provide legal protection to 800,000 Dreamers and a path toward citizenship for them,” said Sanders, a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016.

Donors Polled

Trump, though, looked ready to rev up his base with an email from his joint fundraising committee carrying the subject line “RESPONSIBLE immigration reform,” inviting recipients to take a poll on immigration matters.

The survey asked respondents to rate their level of support for policies including prioritizing new immigrants who already speak English, limiting immigration at times of high U.S. unemployment, and ruling out the potential for citizenship to be granted to “illegal immigrants.”

Those responding to the survey were also asked to “take the next step by making a contribution” of at least $35. The Trump Make America Great Again Committee focuses on small-dollar donors.

— With assistance by Carolina Millan

(Updates with Democratic comments, survey from ninth paragraph.)
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