President Trump on Thursday laid out his demands for an immigration deal to Republican senators, making clear he doesn’t expect Congress to build a physical 2,200-mile concrete wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.
Instead, the president wants Congress to increase security along the border by ratcheting up patrols, surveillance and fencing, in return for relief for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program recipients in an immigration deal that could be tied to the 2018 spending bill.
“People want to paint that it’s some 2,000-mile long, 30-foot-high wall of concrete. That’s not what he means and not what he tries to say,” said Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.), who met with Trump at the White House Thursday.
“There’s going to be border fencing in some areas, there’s going to be vehicular barricades, there’s going to be technology, there’s going to be greater manpower in some areas,” he added.Lankford said Trump has been clear “in private.”
Government funding runs out on Jan. 19, and Congress has until March 5 to come up with a solution to protect “Dreamers” from deportation.
Other Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee Thursday met with Trump Thursday — including Senate Republican Whip John Cornyn(Texas), Sen. Chuck Grassley (Iowa), Sen. Tom Cotton (Ark.), Sen. Lindsey Graham (S.C.) and Sen. Thom Tillis (N.C.) — to get a better sense of what border security needs must be met as part of an immigration deal with Democrats.
Trump told lawmakers to end chain migration and the visa lottery program as part of a possible deal with Democrats to protect an estimated 800,000 Dreamers from deportation.
Under chain migration, relatives of immigrants with legal status receive preferential treatment, and the diversity visa lottery program, which provides visas to people from countries that have relatively few immigrants in the United States.
Trump called chain migration “a total disaster” and the visa lottery program “bad for our economy and very bad for security.”