White House official: DACA, border wall don't have to be linked

By Allen Cone  |  Updated Sept. 12, 2017 at 12:42 PM
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Sept. 12 (UPI) -- A White House official said Tuesday that President Donald Trump won't require funding for a border wall to be linked to a new Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

"We're interested in getting border security and the president has made the commitment to the American people that a barrier is important to that security," White House legislative director Marc Short said Tuesday at a Christian Science Monitor breakfast in Washington that included reporters. "Whether or not that is part of a DACA equation, or ... another legislative vehicle, I don't want to bind us into a construct that would make the conclusion on DACA impossible."

On Sept. 5, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that Trump would end the program that protected undocumented children brought to the United States from deportation unless Congress finds a legislative solution in the next six months. Sessions said the executive order by former President Barack Obama in 2012 is unconstitutional.

Trump plans to disclose his goals for potential DACA reform within the next couple of weeks, Short said.

Rep. Joe Crowley, D-N.Y., who chairs the House Democratic Caucus, has likened a possible legislative link between DACA reform and border-wall funding to "hostage taking."

In the Republican-dominated House, Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows, R-N.C., said last week he wouldn't demand that the two be tied together in the same bill.

But Rep. Mike Coffman, a Republican moderate from Colorado, said he thinks it could be difficult to pass DACA reform that doesn't include other measures that appeal to congressional conservatives.

Besides funding the wall along the southern border, Trump's immigration priorities also include interior enforcement and a "merit-based immigration system," Short said.

Trump has also shown a desire to help those who benefit from DACA.

On Sept. 7, Trump posted on Twitter: "For all of those (DACA) that are concerned about your status during the 6 month period, you have nothing to worry about - No action!"

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