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Trump offers temporary changes protecting Dreamers for border wall money; Democrats say no

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By Jonathan Allen, Phil McCausland and Geoff Bennett

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump proposed a deal to end the government shutdown that continued his demand for $5.7 billion in funding for his border wall, but contained what he suggested was a concession to Democrats: three years of protections for immigrants who were brought to the country illegally as children and those who fled certain countries and are covered under the “temporary protected status” program.

“This plan solves the immediate crisis, and it is a horrible crisis,” Trump said in an address to the nation, delivered from the Diplomatic Room at the White House. “And it provides humanitarian relief, delivers real border security and immediately reopens our federal government.”

Trump said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has agreed to put his proposal into a bill and bring it up on the floor by the end of next week.

Democratic leaders in Congress declared the plan dead on arrival.

“It is unlikely that any one of these provisions alone would pass the House, and taken together, they are a non-starter,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a statement. “For one thing, this proposal does not include the permanent solution for the Dreamers and TPS recipients that our country needs and supports.”

The partial government shutdown, which is now the longest in history, began Dec. 22, when the House and Senate failed to pass legislation funding various agencies, including the Homeland Security Department. Trump said Saturday that he intends to follow through on the promise he made repeatedly on the campaign trail — one that he originally framed as requiring Mexico to pay for a barrier.

“I intend to keep that promise one way or the other,” he said. “Our immigration system should be the subject of pride, not a source of shame as it is all over the world.”

The conservative Heritage Foundation, a Washington think tank, criticized Trump for offering up a shield to certain immigrants.

“Amnesty should not be part of any border security deal, especially given that many who today oppose a wall have publicly supported and even voted for physical barriers in the recent past,” James Carafano, vice president of The Heritage Foundation’s Davis Institute for National Security and Foreign Policy, said in a statement.

“Unlike many in Washington, President Trump has shown himself to be serious about securing the border and fixing our broken immigration system. For this he is to be commended. However, the proposed compromise is not the best way forward,” Carafano said.

Trump has considered various proposals that would, in theory, allow him to shift money and resources to try to build the wall, but there are political, logistical and legal pitfalls that make those options difficult.

Since the government shutdown began four weeks ago, the two parties have ceded no ground, with Trump and Republican leaders in Congress insisting that bills to re-open the agencies include money for the wall he promised on the campaign trail. Democratic leaders have held firm to the position that Trump must agree to fund the agencies without the wall money.

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