With cameras rolling, Trump urges both parties to cut deals on immigration

Trump, Key Lawmakers Negotiating Immigration Policies

They were temporarily shielded from deportation under the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which Trump is terminating on March 5.

Republicans, Ryan added, want to make sure that the package, however, is "balanced", so that the US doesn't have a DACA program five to 10 years from now. But lawmakers said that is not likely at Tuesday's meeting as they consider options for resolving the standoff with Trump.

Congress has less than two weeks - until January 19 - to potentially pass a budget deal to lift spending caps and a governmentwide funding package that funds the rest of the fiscal year.

President Donald Trump signaled Tuesday he could support a deal to allow hundreds of thousands of immigrants living in the country illegally to keep their status, but only as part of a broader border security deal.

"I would love not to build the wall, but you need the wall", the President said near the end of the 55 minute White House photo op.

The president met with lawmakers for almost an hour, and the session was unusual in that a small pool of reporters was allowed to remain for the duration, an apparent effort to rebut one of the premises of the best-selling book Fire and Fury: Inside The Trump White House, which portrays the president as in over his head and possibly mentally unfit for office.

McCarthy said lawmakers in both parties agreed to constrain the immediate immigration push to four areas: DACA, securing the border, and addressing family-based "chain migration" and the visa lottery program. "It was clear in the meeting that wall did not mean some structure", he said of Trump's remarks, noting the president also mentioned fencing, cameras, and other security measures for the border.

"To me", Trump responded, "a clean bill is DACA and security". "If they come to me with things I'm not in love with, I'm going to do it. I know most of the people on both sides, have a lot of respect for the people on both sides, and what I approve is going to be very much reliant on what the people in this room come to me with".

The president also addressed the issue of a border wall with Mexico, saying the US needs one "in certain areas obviously that aren't protected by nature" and where existing fences are in bad shape and need to be fixed or rebuilt. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., one of the attendees.

A congressional aide told Reuters that negotiators in Congress also have been talking about legislation that would expand TPS in return for ending a visa lottery program that Republicans want to terminate.

He said he would back a two-phased approach to immigration reform that first takes care of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program and border security, then later addresses more comprehensive immigration reform.

Trump ended the program a year ago, citing legal challenges by states, but gave Congress until March 5 to negotiate a deal that would allow "Dreamers" to stay legally. Republicans especially have pushed for the administration to draw clear lines around what would be a doable deal, giving them cover with the base to compromise and giving them leverage with Democrats to move the debate forward.

The president appeared to acknowledge the potential political pitfalls of pursuing a more permanent deal, telling the lawmakers, "I'll take all the heat you want". Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota and Jon Tester of Montana, as well as Democratic Rep. Henry Cuellar of Texas, who frequently votes with Republicans on immigration and border issues - a sign that the White House is looking to pick off as many Democrats as it can even if it can't work with the party's key negotiators.


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