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Donald Trump

‘Amnesty Don’: how President Trump risks infuriating his base by compromising with Democrats on ‘Dreamers’

Trump rescinded executive order protecting young people who arrived illegally in the US as children – but now appears to be having second thoughts

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 14 September, 2017, 9:16pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 14 September, 2017, 9:19pm

US President Donald Trump said on Thursday he was “fairly close” to finalising a deal with Democrats in Congress on allowing young immigrants to stay in the country.

“Does anybody really want to throw out good, educated and accomplished young people who have jobs, some serving in the military? Really!” Trump tweeted.

“They have been in our country for many years through no fault of their own – brought in by parents at young age.”

Trump was repeating a key Democratic argument in support of allowing young people who arrived illegally in the US as children to stay.

Does anybody really want to throw out good, educated and accomplished young people who have jobs, some serving in the military? Really!
U.S. President Donald Trump

Trump’s predecessor Barack Obama protected the “Dreamers” through his Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) order. But Trump rescinded that executive order, and urged Congress to craft a legal solution within the next six months.

Trump later told reporters: “I think we are fairly close but we have to get massive border security.”

“We are working on a plan for DACA. People want to see that happen,” Trump said in response to questions as he headed to storm-ravaged Florida.

“You have 800,000 young people brought here, so we are working on a plan and we will see how it works out. We will see what happens. Something will happen.”

Democratic Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and top House Democrat Nancy Pelosi emerged from a meeting with Trump late on Wednesday saying they had a “very productive” dinner meeting in which the discussion focused on the “Dreamers”.

“There was no final deal, but ... we agreed that the President would support enshrining DACA protections into law, and encourage the House [of Representatives] and Senate to act,” they said.

“What remains to be negotiated are the details of border security, with a mutual goal of finalising all details as soon as possible,” they added, saying Democrats would continue to oppose plans for a border wall.

Instead, a draft border security package could include using new technology, drones, air support, sensors and rebuilding roads, the congressional Democrats said.

“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 had tweeted, referring to the proposed barrier along the US-Mexico border that was a cornerstone of his election platform.

Some conservative supporters of Trump reacted angrily to reporters of his compromise with the Democrats.

“Trump base is blown up, destroyed, irreparable, and disillusioned beyond repair. No promise is credible,” wrote Congressman Steve King.

“The reality is sinking in that Trump administration is on the precipice of turning into an establishment presidency,” Sam Nunberg, a former Trump campaign adviser, said in an interview early on Thursday morning.

Trump base is blown up, destroyed, irreparable, and disillusioned beyond repair. No promise is credible
Congressman Steve King

While the initial wave of fury could change direction as new details emerge, the torrent represented the first major break of Trump’s devoted base from the president on a core issue.

Conservative radio talk show host Laura Ingraham, who is friendly with Trump, mocked him for seeming to shelve the pledge that has animated his supporters since his campaign’s launch.

“Exactly what @realDonaldTrump campaigned on. Not,” Ingraham wrote on Twitter. She later added: “BUILD THE WALL! BUILD THE WALL! ... or ... maybe ... not really.”

Breitbart News, the conservative website now run by former White House chief strategist Stephen Bannon, quickly became a gathering place for aggrieved Trump backers. Readers congregated by the thousands in the comments section for an article with a bright red headline: “Amnesty Don”.

“Deep State Wins, Huge Loss for #MAGA,” Fox Business anchor Lou Dobbs tweeted, alluding to Trump’s “Make America Great Again” campaign slogan.

Others who have supported Trump’s immigration positions took a wait-and-see approach amid the chaos.

“My sense is that he told Chuck and Nancy what they wanted to hear, and they heard what they wanted to hear. I think there could be some mischief-making on the part of Schumer since the White House is walking it back,” said Mark Krikorian, an immigration hardliner who runs the Center for Immigration Studies, in an interview.

‘It’s just sadness’: Dreamers say Trump’s decision to rescind DACA leaves them in limbo

Meanwhile, Fox News host Sean Hannity, who is in regular contact with Trump, directed his ire over the developments not at the president but at Republican Party leaders on Capitol Hill.

“Well Mitch GREAT JOB!” Hannity tweeted, referring to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. “You failed so miserably with Healthcare and ‘excessive expectations’ now @POTUS has to deal with Dem Leaders!”

Hannity added later, “I blame R’s. They caused this. They wanted him to fail and now pushed him into arms of political suicide – IF TRUE.”

Additional reporting by The Washington Post