Elise Foley and Willa Frej report for HuffPost:
“WASHINGTON ― President Donald Trump gave a series of conflicting statements on Thursday about how he hopes to deal with young undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children, muddying the waters over whether he will support their bid to gain eventual citizenship and whether he will demand a border wall in exchange.
Trump’s comments, made both to reporters and on Twitter, came after leading Democrats in Congress said they had reached an informal deal with the president on legislation to help so-called Dreamers, or undocumented young people who entered the country as children.
Last week, Trump put the fates of hundreds of thousands of Dreamers up in the air by rescinding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which granted two-year work permits and deportation relief.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said on Wednesday that they had reached an agreement with Trump to tie measures to grant Dreamers legal status to border security measures, but not to a wall. They said Trump had made clear he would continue to demand a wall, and that they had told him they would oppose it.
Trump denied that a deal had been made, although he initially did not dispute key details of what the Democrats had said. But later, he said Dreamers’ fates would be tied to the construction of a border wall, even if it’s not part of legislation that addresses Dreamers.
“We have to be sure the wall isn’t obstructed, because without the wall, I wouldn’t do anything. … It doesn’t have to be here but they can’t obstruct the wall if it’s in a budget or anything else,” Trump told reporters in Florida, according to a pool report.
He added that he would “only do it if we get extreme security, not only surveillance but everything that goes with surveillance,” Trump said. “If there’s not a wall, we’re doing nothing.”
The president also created more confusion by suggesting that he might not support allowing Dreamers to eventually gain citizenship. That would destroy any hope of a deal with Democrats, who want Trump to support the Dream Act, which would allow undocumented young people who came to the U.S. as children to eventually become citizens.
“We’re not looking at citizenship,” he said. “We’re not looking at amnesty. We’re looking at allowing people to stay here.”
That doesn’t necessarily preclude eventually supporting Dream Act-style measures, however. The bill would not grant citizenship immediately; it would allow Dreamers to gain legal status that would make them eligible for eventual citizenship ― so there’s potential that Trump could eventually back such measures and still claim they were not the “amnesty” he opposes.
Earlier on Thursday, Trump said in a series of tweets that any deal on Dreamers would be contingent on “massive border security,” although he didn’t specify that it had to include a wall. He added that the wall is “already under construction in the form of new renovation of old and existing fences and walls” and would proceed.”
And, the beat goes on! I knew that sanity couldn’t last long in the “Age of Trump.”