WASHINGTON — A Texas Democrat says President Donald Trump took the southern border wall off the table in the DACA fix during a Wednesday bipartisan meeting at the White House.
Texas Democratic Rep. Henry Cuellar says Trump told a group of House members during the meeting that the idea of the border wall funding would not be in any congressional action related to the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals policy.
“We were talking about DACA. We brought up DACA. Then he [Trump] says, ‘We need border security,’” Cuellar told reporters Wednesday. “And then he looks up and says, ‘No wall. Put it somewhere else.’”
Cuellar says the president told the members that he wants to move fast on DACA saying that people will forget about immigration in six months. Along with elements of border security and some unspecified measures from the RAISE Act that aims at reducing immigration, Cuellar said the DACA fix appears to be on its way to become an immigration reform package.
Democrats are not the only ones looking at the DACA fix as a potential way to pass an immigration reform bill. Republicans see it as well.
“It can really be a catalyst for this. I think President Trump has shown a great deal of sympathy in his comments for the dreamers as most Americans have as I think most members of Congress quite honestly, so it’s kind of like a nick might be a Nixon and China moment maybe only President Trump something has finally come into securing the border. That’s has always been the first step,” Wisconsin Republican Sen. Ron Johnson told The Daily Caller.
When asked if Trump backed down completely on his central campaign promise to build a wall, Cuellar said it did not appear so. “He’s not backing away, but from my body language reading of him, he didn’t say we’re going to have it no matter what.”
Cuellar claims the president told the group that the country needs “skilled workers” as well as workers for farms.
“He never said ‘guest worker,’ but I assume he was talking about guest workers that we need. ‘We need to get the farmers some workers,'” the congressman told reporters.
Cuellar said he believes Trump will attempt to put border wall funding into an upcoming appropriations bill, but he added, “My prediction it won’t be there at the end.”
Ohio Republican Rep. Jim Jordan, a member of the Freedom Caucus, told TheDC Wednesday he was unaware of Cuellar’s claims about Trump taking border wall funding out of any DACA fix.
“My thoughts are we should do what we told the people we are going to do what they elected us to do and that certainly included great border security wall,” Jordan said.
Jordan went on to say, “I think that was something that was central to the campaign but the American people want border security so we have to focus on that. That was central to the campaign for all of us on the Republican side that got elected.”