House Speaker and Democrat Nancy Pelosi has said that the party will reject President’s Donald Tump’s US-Mexico border wall concessions, after saying they are a “non-starter”.
Trump had made some concessions in order to compromise in an attempt to reopen government with 800,000 people left unpaid in the biggest US shutdown in history, and the third under this administration.
Trump makes concessions
Trumped hailed his own speech as an “important announcement”. He began his speech by claiming that the US had a long history of welcoming immigrants, but said that the system has been “badly broken for a very long time”.
Trump once again gave his reasons for building the wall, and said that despite making changes to his initial demands, the $5.7bn (£4.5m) request remains and will not change, as he “intends to keep” the promises he made to build the wall during his election campaign.
In regards to new concessions that he is going to make, he said he was doing so to “break the logjam and provide Congress with a path forward to end the government shutdown”.
The two new ideas concerned the Dreamers and Temporary Protection Status (TPS) holders. There are some 700,000 Dreamers, who were young when they entered the United States with their parents illegally,
The Dreamers are currently protected from deportation under a programme that allows them to work but not get citizenship. It is a programme Mr Trump has been trying to rescind.
But he said he would extend protection for Dreamers for another three years, allowing them continued access to work permits.
He said he would also extend the visas for TPS holders for three years. More than 300,000 people from countries affected by war or disasters are allowed to work in the US under TPS, another system Mr Trump has opposed.
There were other proposals, including $800m in urgent humanitarian assistance, 2,750 more border agents and security officials and 75 new immigration judge teams. Certainly the latter conforms largely with Democrat suggestions.
The president said his proposals were “reasonable with lots of compromise” and would “build trust and goodwill”.
Democrat rejection of concessions
House Speaker Pelosi spoke out and rejected the President’s concessions before Trump had made his speech.
“Unfortunately, initial reports make clear that his proposal is a compilation of several previously rejected initiatives, each of which is unacceptable and in total, do not represent a good faith effort to restore certainty to people’s lives.
“It is unlikely that any one of these provisions alone would pass the House, and taken together, they are a non-starter.”
Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer issued a statement saying that Mr Trump had “single-handedly” taken away Dreamer and TPS protections and that offering some protections back was “not a compromise but more hostage taking”.