Top lawmakers in the House gathered Wednesday to discuss crafting a legislative solution to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program after President Donald Trump repealed former President Barack Obama’s executive order last week.
Congress has six months to craft a bill reforming the initiative, which safeguards more than 800,000 illegal immigrants brought to the U.S. as children from deportation.
The meeting — which was attended by House Speaker Paul Ryan, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, Congressional Hispanic Caucus Chairwoman Michelle Lujan Grisham and Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus Chairwoman Judy Chu — comes shortly after Trump told a handful of Democratic lawmakers he is open to detaching funding for the border wall from DACA reforms.
“This afternoon the speaker and majority leader met with a number of House Democrats at their request to discuss DACA, and they reiterated that any solution needs to address border security and enforcement, which are the root causes of the problem,” Ryan spokeswoman AshLee Strong said in a statement. “Discussions among the Republican conference will continue in the coming weeks.”
McCarthy said the meeting provided the opportunity for lawmakers to voice their concerns.
“It’s the beginning of a listening that the president asked us to do — we have a broken immigration system that we need to fix,” the California Republican told reporters. “We have a responsibility in the House to solve this problem and I believe we’ll get this solved.”
Hoyer and Lujan Grisham echoed McCarthy’s sentiments, telling reporters they are “optimistic” they will reach a consensus and plan on furthering the discussion.
Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer are slated to discuss DACA over dinner at the White House Wednesday evening.
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