President Donald Trump, seen here as he boards Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base, Md., Friday, Jan. 12, 2018, to travel to Palm Beach International Airport in West Palm Beach, Fla., said a program to protect immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as children is “probably dead” Sunday. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

President Donald Trump, seen here as he boards Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base, Md., Friday, Jan. 12, 2018, to travel to Palm Beach International Airport in West Palm Beach, Fla., said a program to protect immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as children is “probably dead” Sunday. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Trump says program to protect ‘Dreamers’ is ‘probably dead’

At issue is the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program created by President Barack Obama.

By DARLENE SUPERVILLE

Associated Press

PALM BEACH, Fla. — President Donald Trump said Sunday that a program that protects immigrants who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children is “probably dead,” casting a cloud over already tenuous negotiations just days before a deadline on a government funding deal that Democrats have tied to immigration.

At issue is the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program created by President Barack Obama to shield hundreds of thousands of these individuals, known as “Dreamers,” from deportation. Trump, who has taken a hard stance against illegal immigration, announced last year that he will end the program unless Congress comes up with a solution by March.

“DACA is probably dead because the Democrats don’t really want it, they just want to talk and take desperately needed money away from our Military,” the Republican president tweeted. “I, as President, want people coming into our Country who are going to help us become strong and great again, people coming in through a system based on MERIT. No more Lotteries! #AMERICA FIRST.”

Republicans and Democrats were already at odds over funding the government, and the negotiations became more complicated after Democrats — whose votes are needed to pass a government funding bill — insisted immigration be included. Government funding expires midnight Friday without a deal in place, and some government functions will begin to go dark.

Further roiling the talks are comments by Trump during an Oval Office meeting in which he questioned the need to admit more Haitians to the U.S., along with Africans from “shithole” countries, according to people briefed on the conversation. He also said he would prefer immigrants from countries like Norway instead. The White House has not denied that Trump said the word “shithole.”

The president also rejected as insufficient an immigration deal drafted by the bipartisan group of lawmakers who attended that meeting. The deal had included a pathway to citizenship for the “Dreamers” that would take up to 12 years, as well as $1.6 billion for border security, including Trump’s promised wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Trump’s staunchest supporters consider any route to citizenship for the “Dreamers” amnesty for lawbreakers.

The president has said any deal must include funding for the wall as well as changes to make the immigration system a more merit-based structure.

The debate over DACA’s fate came as lawmakers were forced to answer questions about whether Trump is racist.

Rep. Mia Love, R-Utah, the first black female Republican in Congress and the daughter of Haitian immigrants, denounced Trump’s comments as racist and called on him to apologize. “I think that would show real leadership,” she said on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday.

Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga., who was at Thursday’s Oval Office meeting, insisted Sunday that Trump did not say “shithole” in referring to African countries.

“I am telling you that he did not use that word. And I’m telling you it’s a gross misrepresentation,” Perdue said on ABC’s “This Week.” He said Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., were mistaken in indicating earlier that that was the case.

Perdue and Republican Sen. Tom Cotton had previously issued a statement saying they “do not recall the President saying those comments specifically.” Cotton said Sunday on CBS’ “Face the Nation” that he “didn’t hear” the vulgar word used.

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, who was nominated by Trump and who also attended Thursday’s meeting at the Oval Office, said, “I don’t recall that specific phrase being used.”

Nielsen did dispute, however, Trump’s assertion that DACA was “probably dead.”

“I do not believe DACA is dead,” Nielsen said on “Fox News Sunday.” She said that the bipartisan proposal rejected by Trump did not address core security issues facing her department and that Trump’s administration was not interested in “half measures.”

Perdue said that “the potential is there” for a deal to protect the “Dreamers” but that Democrats needed to get serious.

Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., defended the agreement as a “principled compromise” on NBC’s “Meet the Press” and said, “I hope people will explore it.”

Talk to us

More in Nation-World

A woman reacts as she prepares to leave an area for relatives of the passengers aboard China Eastern's flight MU5735 at the Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport, Tuesday, March 22, 2022, in Guangzhou. No survivors have been found as rescuers on Tuesday searched the scattered wreckage of a China Eastern plane carrying 132 people that crashed a day earlier on a wooded mountainside in China's worst air disaster in more than a decade. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)
No survivors found in crash of Boeing 737 in China

What caused the plane to drop out of the sky shortly before it was to being its descent remained a mystery.

In this photo taken by mobile phone released by Xinhua News Agency, a piece of wreckage of the China Eastern's flight MU5735 are seen after it crashed on the mountain in Tengxian County, south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region on Monday, March 21, 2022. A China Eastern Boeing 737-800 with 132 people on board crashed in a remote mountainous area of southern China on Monday, officials said, setting off a forest fire visible from space in the country's worst air disaster in nearly a decade. (Xinhua via AP)
Boeing 737 crashes in southern China with 132 aboard

More than 15 hours after communication was lost with the plane, there was still no word of survivors.

In this photo taken from video provided by the Ukrainian Presidential Press Office, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy speaks to the nation in Kyiv, Ukraine, Sunday, Feb. 27, 2022. Street fighting broke out in Ukraine's second-largest city Sunday and Russian troops put increasing pressure on strategic ports in the country's south following a wave of attacks on airfields and fuel facilities elsewhere that appeared to mark a new phase of Russia's invasion. (Ukrainian Presidential Press Office via AP)
Ukraine wants EU membership, but accession often takes years

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s request has enthusiastic support from several member states.

FILE - Ukrainian servicemen walk by fragments of a downed aircraft,  in in Kyiv, Ukraine, Friday, Feb. 25, 2022. The International Criminal Court's prosecutor has put combatants and their commanders on notice that he is monitoring Russia's invasion of Ukraine and has jurisdiction to prosecute war crimes and crimes against humanity. But, at the same time, Prosecutor Karim Khan acknowledges that he cannot investigate the crime of aggression. (AP Photo/Oleksandr Ratushniak, File)
ICC prosecutor to open probe into war crimes in Ukraine

U.N. human rights chief Michelle Bachelet confirmed that 102 civilians have been killed.

FILE - Refugees fleeing conflict from neighboring Ukraine arrive to Zahony, Hungary, Sunday, Feb. 27, 2022. As hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians seek refuge in neighboring countries, cradling children in one arm and clutching belongings in the other, leaders in Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria, Moldova and Romania are offering a hearty welcome. (AP Photo/Anna Szilagyi, File)
Europe welcomes Ukrainian refugees — others, less so

It is a stark difference from treatment given to migrants and refugees from the Middle East and Africa.

Afghan evacuees disembark the plane and board a bus after landing at Skopje International Airport, North Macedonia, on Wednesday, Sept. 15, 2021. North Macedonia has hosted another group of 44 Afghan evacuees on Wednesday where they will be sheltered temporarily till their transfer to final destinations. (AP Photo/Boris Grdanoski)
‘They are safe here.’ Snohomish County welcomes hundreds of Afghans

The county’s welcoming center has been a hub of services and assistance for migrants fleeing Afghanistan since October.

FILE - In this April 15, 2019, file photo, a vendor makes change for a marijuana customer at a cannabis marketplace in Los Angeles. An unwelcome trend is emerging in California, as the nation's most populous state enters its fifth year of broad legal marijuana sales. Industry experts say a growing number of license holders are secretly operating in the illegal market — working both sides of the economy to make ends meet. (AP Photo/Richard Vogel, File)
In California pot market, a hazy line between legal and not

Industry insiders say the practice of working simultaneously in the legal and illicit markets is a financial reality.

19 dead, including 9 children, in NYC apartment fire

More than five dozen people were injured and 13 people were still in critical condition in the hospital.

15 dead after Russian skydiver plane crashes

The L-410, a Czech-made twin-engine turboprop, crashed near the town of Menzelinsk.

FILE - In this March 29, 2018, file photo, the logo for Facebook appears on screens at the Nasdaq MarketSite in New York's Times Square. Facebook prematurely turned off safeguards designed to thwart misinformation and rabble rousing after Joe Biden defeated Donald Trump in the 2020 elections in a moneymaking move that a company whistleblower alleges contributed to the deadly Jan. 6, 2021, invasion of the U.S. Capitol. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)
Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram in hourslong worldwide outage

Something made the social media giant’s routes inaccessable to the rest of the internet.

Oil washed up on Huntington Beach, Calif., on Sunday, Oct. 3, 2021. A major oil spill off the coast of Southern California fouled popular beaches and killed wildlife while crews scrambled Sunday to contain the crude before it spread further into protected wetlands. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)
Crews race to limited damage from California oil spill

At least 126,000 gallons (572,807 liters) of oil spilled into the waters off Orange County.

YouTube will remove videos with misinformation about any vaccine

The ban covers claims vaccines are dangerous or lead to chronic health outcomes such as autism.