President Donald Trump on Saturday proposed to offer temporary protections from deportation for undocumented immigrants in exchange for $5.7 billion in border wall funding, a plan intended to reignite funding negotiations as the longest government shutdown on record stretched into its 29th day.
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Top Democrats soundly rejected the offer before Trump made the announcement, with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi calling it a “non-starter.”
“It is unlikely that any of these provisions alone would pass the House, and taken togther, they are a non-starter,” she said in a statement, urging the president to come forward with a permanent solution to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
With no clear path forward, the roughly 800,000 federal workers will continue to go without pay, while the nine departments affected by the partial government shutdown will continue to go without adequate funding -- including the Department of Homeland Security -- will more visible effects of the shutdown begin to appear.
In addition to offering a three-year protection to the undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as a children, known as Dreamers, Trump proposed $800 million in humanitarian assistance, $805 million in new drug-detection technology, 2,750 more border patrol agents and law-enforcement officials, 75 new immigration judge teams and a new system to allow Central American minors to apply for asylum in their home countries.
"If we are successful in this effort, we will have the best chance in a long time at real, bipartisan immigration reform, and it won’t stop here, it will keep going until we do it all,” he said.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell praised Trump for his “bold” solution and pledged to bring it to the Senate floor for a vote this week (it will likely fail, unless seven Democrats support it).
“Compromise in divided government means that everyone can’t get everything they want every time," McConnell said in a statement. "The president’s proposal reflects that. It strikes a fair compromise by incorporating priorities from both sides of the aisle."