US President Trump Says Deal On Young Migrants 'Fairly Close'

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WASHINGTON (Alliance News) - US President Donald Trump says he and opposition Democrats in Congress are nearing an agreement to shield young, non-legal migrants from deportation.

Leaving the White House by helicopter, he told reporters Thursday that "we're working on a plan" for the high-profile Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals programme, which his administration has vowed to scrap.

"I think we're fairly close, but we have to get massive border security," he said.

Trump said that congressional leaders of his Republican Party, which holds majorities in both chambers, are "very much on board" with a deal that would address DACA.

Trump met late Wednesday at the White House with leaders of the Democratic minority factions in the Senate and the House of Representatives.

He tweeted early Thursday making clear that there was "no deal" yet on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals - Trump's administration vowed this month to wind down the programme, which was implemented by his predecessor, Barack Obama.

In later comments in Fort Myers, Florida, where he was viewing disaster response efforts, Trump emphasized that an agreement on DACA would only allow the young immigrants, who were often brought into the country as small children by their families, to stay in the US.

"We're not looking at citizenship," he said. "We're not looking at amnesty."

New York Senator Chuck Schumer, leader of the Democratic minority in the upper chamber, and California Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, who heads the left-leaning faction in the lower House, said Thursday that Trump had agreed to "support enshrining DACA protections into law, and encourage the House and Senate to act."

"President Trump's tweets are not inconsistent with the agreement reached last night. As we said last night, there was no final deal," Schumer and Pelosi said in a joint statement.

"What remains to be negotiated are the details of border security, with a mutual goal of finalizing all details as soon as possible," Schumer and Pelosi said. "While both sides agreed that the wall would not be any part of this agreement, the president made clear he intends to pursue it at a later time, and we made clear we would continue to oppose it."

The two Democrats said that a border security package might include new technology, drones, air support, sensor equipment and rebuilding roads along the border to improve US patrols.

Trump tweeted that he is demanding "massive" border security.

In Florida, he emphasized that construction of a wall at the US southern border - a key plank of his 2016 presidential campaign - is not negotiable.

"Ultimately we have to have a wall," Trump said.

The Customs and Border Patrol last month awarded contracts to four companies to build potential wall prototypes.

Trump said that "the wall will come later."

Initiated by Obama in 2012, nearly 800,000 people had been approved for DACA, which protects participants - referred to as "Dreamers" by the programme's supporters - from deportation and allows them to work or attend university.

After Attorney General Jeff Sessions's September 5 announcement that the DACA?programme would be phased out over the next two years, Trump said that his first priority was to "improve jobs, wages and security for American workers and their families."

In recent tweets, Trump appeared to agree with the reasoning behind DACA, describing the Dreamers as "good, educated and accomplished young people who have jobs, some serving in the military."

"They have been in our country for many years through no fault of their own - brought in by parents at young age," he wrote.

Copyright dpa