Saul Loeb AFP Getty Images President Donald Trump leaves the White House on Friday for a weekend with Republican lawmakers at Camp David in Maryland
And the President has expanded on that demand, now including an end to so-called "chain migration" - a term that refers to the process by which immigrants can eventually bring relatives to the country, part of the USA immigration system's focus on family reunification - and to a diversity visa lottery that he has cast as a peril to national security. Some Democrats said they feel that Republicans invited to the meetings who have longstanding opposition to and arguments against DACA are slowing down the process.
The problem is that Democrats are "slow walking" the negotiations, trying to force Republicans to accept a deal that would legalize 800,000 children of illegal aliens eligible for the DACA program.
Trump announced in September his plans to terminate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, but he gave lawmakers a six-month window to pass a legislative deal before the temporary work permits begin to expire at a rate of almost 1,000 per day. But in exchange, Trump wants a number of immigration-related measures, including increased security to thwart more illegal immigration along the southern USA border with Mexico by constructing a wall he vowed during his 2016 presidential campaign would be built and paid for by Mexico. Trump later clarified that there is no agreement without the wall.
Speaking to reporters a day before a White House meeting on immigration, Cornyn said Democrats won't agree to new spending caps for domestic and defense programs that are key to writing a broad spending bill for this fiscal year.
Trump also said he hoped to pursue a "comprehensive" immigration bill after lawmakers strike a deal on the dreamers. Democrats and some moderate Republicans are eying a January 19 deadline for a must-pass government spending deal as leverage to get a deal done on DACA. "I think he thinks they're interchangeable".
Top congressional leaders did not attend the hour-long meeting.
"If you don't have the wall, you don't have security", Trump told the lawmakers.
"If you want to take it that further step, I'll take the heat", Trump responded.
Trump repeatedly supported the idea of the wall, but he began the meeting saying that he would back whatever bill Congress sends him.
Trump as recently as last weekend said he wouldn't sign legislation addressing the Dreamers unless Congress agreed to an overhaul of the legal immigration system. But in the meeting he indicated a willingness to compromise with Democrats, whose votes are needed in the narrowly divided Senate.
He added that any bill addressing immigration should be "bipartisan", and a "bill of love", though he maintained that it would necessarily include ending "chain migration" and scrapping the diversity visa-lottery program. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., one of the attendees.
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