Jan 10, 2018 - Politics & Policy

What Trump said about a Dreamers bill

Sen. Dianne Feinstein

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-California, speaks to US President Donald Trump during a meeting at the White House. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

President Trump seemed to say two things yesterday about how he wanted to proceed with legislation to protect Dreamers, leading to some confusion over whether he would support a bill that doesn't include some border security provisions.

Why it matters: Trump's statements appeared to support both Republican and Democrat demands on immigration, which might give Democrats some leverage. The issue will be the most contentious fight in Congress in the coming weeks as part of the debate over government funding and what to do ahead of a deadline on addressing immigrants brought to the country illegally as children. Democrats want to tie the issue to funding the government while Republicans want to include border-security and funding for the wall.

Trump at first said he'd be open to a Dreamers solution (also known as DACA) without other provisions:

SENATOR FEINSTEIN: ... I'd like to ask the question:  What about a clean DACA bill now, with a commitment that we go into a comprehensive immigration reform procedure? ...
SENATOR FEINSTEIN: Would you be agreeable to that?
THE PRESIDENT: Yeah, I would like -- I would like to do that.* Go ahead. I think a lot of people would like to see that, but I think we have to do DACA first.

(The original White House transcript did not include the president's full response to Feinstein, which is now marked above with an asterisk. The White House has said the omission was unintentional, per The Washington Post, which first caught it.)

Here's what Trump said about the bill later in the meeting:

THE PRESIDENT:  We do a phase one, which is DACA and security, and we do phase two, which is comprehensive immigration.  And I think we should go right to it, I really do.  We do one and we then do the other.
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