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Democrats Deal With Trump On DREAMers May Be In Trouble


You remember that big deal President Trump struck with Chuck and Nancy - Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi? Well, the broad agreement the president and those Democratic leaders reached last month traded increased border security for permanent protections for people and the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. That deal may now be in danger. This is because the White House has announced new demands for any sort of immigration agreement. And Democrats are saying these are nonstarters. NPR's Scott Detrow is with us. Hey there, Scott.


GREENE: So what's the White House proposing here.

DETROW: So this is a list of what the White House wants out of any sort of deal. And it's essentially a laundry list of hardline immigration proposals? Here's Marc Short, the White House legislative affairs director, talking about this last night.


MARC SHORT: In our minds, that includes fully funding and completing construction of a border wall and closing legal loopholes that prevent removal and swell the court backlog.

DETROW: So you heard him insisting on a border wall. A whole bunch of other things in here, too, including ending grants for so-called sanctuary cities.

GREENE: What happened to the great Chinese food summit at the White House?

DETROW: (Laughter).

GREENE: I mean, it sounded - I mean, this sounds very different from the deal that was described last month when Trump and Democrats were having that meal together.

DETROW: Absolutely. I mean, both sides in that meeting said that this was broad. There had to be details worked out. But it basically boiled down to increasing border security, doing some sort of long-term fix for DACA but not funding the war. Democrats said they were never going to support that. And President Trump said he was fine with dealing with the wall later. He immediately got a ton of pressure, though, from Republicans. Listen here to Steve King, Iowa congressman, hardliner on immigration. Here's what he said at the time that this deal was announced.


STEVE KING: They came on board because build a wall, enforce the border, enforce immigration law, no amnesty ever. And if they see amnesty coming out of the White House, then that's the one thing that will crack his base.

GREENE: Oh, he's talking about voters coming onboard because they really like what the president said about a wall during the campaign.

DETROW: That's right. There's been so much conversation about the fact that Trump's hardcore supporters are flexible. They're willing to shift with him on policy. And King said immigration is a different issue. That's something his voters really care about. So since then, you've seen the Democrats - President Trump, rather - have an increasingly hard line. But Democrats say that this latest proposal just won't work. Pelosi and Schumer put out a statement last night together saying this is just a nonstarter.

GREENE: OK. So what - I mean, what happens now? Is this deal just dead?

DETROW: It's unclear because, one, the Democrats still do have leverage here. Remember, they have to provide some votes for funding the government, among other things. Two, President Trump has consistently changed his mind on this and consistently said he wants to do something about DACA. So it's unclear if, after all this, he comes out next week and says, yep, same deal back on the table.

GREENE: All right. Scott Detrow covers Congress and just about everything to do with politics for NPR. Scott, thanks.

DETROW: Thanks, David. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Scott Detrow is a White House correspondent for NPR and co-hosts the NPR Politics Podcast.
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