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After top congressional Democrats on Wednesday night said they reached a deal with President Donald Trump to shield about 800,000 young immigrants from deportation — without the president's proposed border wall as a condition — Trump denied any such deal was made.
On Wednesday evening, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi said in a statement, following a White House dinner with Trump: "We had a productive meeting at the White House with the President. The discussion focused on DACA."
"We agreed to enshrine the protections of DACA into law quickly, and to work out a package of border security, excluding the wall, that's acceptable to both sides," they added.
The leaders said they specifically agreed to pair the DREAM Act — legislation that offers the young immigrants an eventual path to permanent residency and citizenship that's previously failed in Congress — with other border security provisions, a person briefed on the meeting said.
But Thursday morning Trump disputed the Democrats' version of events, tweeting, "No deal was made on DACA."
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders also denied any deal was done, saying, "excluding the wall was certainly not agreed to."
Last week, Trump ended the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, with a six-month delay to encourage Congress to pass its protections into law. The policy shields certain undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children and authorizes them to work for two years.
Congressional leaders from both parties and Trump have recently supported passing the protections into law. But Trump's potential insistence on making funding for his proposed wall a condition of a bill — a nonstarter for Democrats — could have threatened a measure to protect so-called dreamers.
Schumer and Pelosi did not specify which border security provisions would be included as part of the DACA bill.
Earlier Wednesday, House Speaker Paul Ryan said kicking out the immigrants protected by DACA "is not in our nation's interest." He added, however, that he wanted any legislation protecting them to get paired with border security measures.
The agreement announced by Schumer and Pelosi comes amid a period of increased engagement between Trump and Democrats. Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell did not attend the dinner on Wednesday night.
Last week, Trump struck a deal with Democratic leaders to attach hurricane aid to a debt ceiling extension and government funding, both for only three months — over the objections of Republican leaders.