The Latest: WH says ‘dreamer’ citizenship under discussion

January 25, 2018
President Donald Trump speaks to a gathering of mayors in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 24, 2018. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on efforts to come up with immigration legislation (all times local):

7 p.m.

A senior White House official is trying to soften President Donald Trump’s comments Wednesday to reporters, saying a pathway to citizenship for younger immigrants brought illegally to the U.S. is still a “discussion point” with Congress.

The official says they will be given legal status immediately, “as long as they behave themselves.”

The official was not authorized to speak publicly on the issue and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Trump said earlier that citizenship for the roughly 700,000 people whose legal protections run out March 5 is “going to happen, at some point in the future, over a period of 10 to 12 years.”

The official says the White House would tell Congress on Wednesday “exactly what the president’s position is.”

— Zeke Miller


6:45 p.m.

Senators from both parties say they’re going to try writing a consensus immigration bill that the Senate would use to commence debate early next month.

More than 30 senators met privately Wednesday as the chamber resumed its drive to produce a bipartisan bill protecting hundreds of thousands of young immigrants from deportation and boosting border security.

Sen. John Cornyn of Texas is the No. 2 Senate Republican leader. His Democratic counterpart is Sen. Richard Durbin of Illinois. They both say they’ll use input from their colleagues to try writing a compromise measure.

Among the differences they’ll need to resolve is how many immigrants to cover, what pathway to citizenship they would create and how much to provide for border security.


6:10 p.m.

President Donald Trump says he’s open to a pathway to citizenship for hundreds of thousands of young people who were brought to the country as children and are now here illegally.

Trump told reporters, “We’re going to morph into it. It’s going to happen, at some point in the future, over a period of 10 to 12 years.”

Trump was talking about the young immigrants who had been protected from deportation and given the right to work legally in the country under the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

Trump announced he was ending DACA last year, but has given Congress until March to come up with a legislative fix.

Trump says he’s confident that he can reach a deal on the issues.

He says the immigrants known as “Dreamers” shouldn’t be worried.


3:05 p.m.

The White House will be releasing a legislative framework on immigration Monday.

That’s according to White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

Sanders won’t say whether that framework will include a pathway to citizenship for hundreds of thousands of young immigrants brought to the country as children and living here illegally.

But she says that it will include specifics on border security and limiting immigrants from sponsoring family members, among other measures,

She says the White House will encourage the Senate to bring the proposal “to the floor.”

She adds that: “The president wants to lead on this issue.”


12:40 p.m.

Senators from both parties have started a fresh search for compromise immigration legislation, but leaders concede that the effort won’t be easy and are already casting blame should the effort falter.

Around three dozen senators, evenly divided among Republicans and Democrats, planned to meet late Wednesday. No. 2 Senate GOP leader John Cornyn of Texas said he hoped it would “get people thinking about a framework that might actually work.”

Their goal is to produce a bipartisan package to protect young immigrants known as “Dreamers” from deportation and to provide billions to toughen border security.

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