'Does anybody really want to throw out good, educated and accomplished young people,' Trump says
President Donald Trump denied Thursday he struck a deal with congressional Democrats to formally legalize a program of protections for immigrants who came into the U.S. illegally as children, but said an agreement is "fairly close".
After meeting with Trump for dinner on Wednesday, the top Democrats in the House and Senate said they reached a deal to "enshrine the protections" of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program in law while agreeing to ramp up border security without funding Trump's long-touted border wall with Mexico.
Shortly after Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer made their announcement, the White House struck back, saying excluding the wall "was certainly not agreed to".
The White House's official comment was followed by a series of early Thursday tweets from Trump in which he said "no deal was made" to move DACA's protections into law.
"Does anybody really want to throw out good, educated and accomplished young people who have jobs, some serving in the military? Really!" Trump said on Twitter. "They have been in our country for many years through no fault of their own - brought in by parents at young age. Plus BIG border security."
Trump said that in exchange for his consent, Democrats would have to agree to "massive border security", and any agreement "would be subject to vote".
Pelosi and Schumer responded, saying in another joint statement that the president's tweets "are not inconsistent with the agreement reached last night".
“We agreed that the President would support enshrining DACA protections into law, and encourage the House and Senate to act," the Democratic leaders said. "What remains to be negotiated are the details of border security, with a mutual goal of finalizing all details as soon as possible."
Both sides agreed that the wall would not be part of this deal, they said, but noted that Trump said he will pursue it in the future.
"And we made clear we would continue to oppose it," the Democrats said.
Trump appeared to agree with his dinner guests on the timing of the wall, telling reporters at the White House that it "will come later".
"We're right now renovating large sections of wall, massive sections, making it brand new," he said.