Trump claims Democrats are 'doing nothing' to protect young immigrants ahead of bipartisan meeting

  • President Trump claims that Democrats are "doing nothing" for the immigrants protected by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
  • Trump ended the DACA program in September with a six-month delay.
  • Bipartisan congressional leaders are meeting with White House officials on Wednesday.
Sennate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (R) (D-NY) speaks with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.
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Sennate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (R) (D-NY) speaks with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.

President Donald Trump claimed on Tuesday that Democrats "are doing nothing" to protect hundreds of thousands of young immigrants.

The president's tweet further inflames sensitive congressional talks on legislation to shield those individuals from deportation.

Trump ended the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program in September but with a six-month delay to force congressional action. If lawmakers cannot reach a solution by March 5, those immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as children will no longer be protected from deportation or have the ability to work legally in the country.

Bipartisan congressional leaders plan to meet with Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney and White House legislative affairs director Marc Short on Wednesday to discuss DACA and the looming Jan. 19 government funding deadline. Republicans have pushed for more border security funding in exchange for immigrant protections.

While Democrats have signaled they could support such a deal, Trump complicated matters last week by insisting on including money for his proposed wall on the U.S.-Mexico border in an agreement. Democrats have said they will not vote for funding for the proposed barrier.

Neither Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., nor House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., immediately responded to requests for comment. Both lawmakers will attend the meeting Wednesday.

In his tweet Tuesday, Trump contended that Democrats are "just interested in politics" while Republicans "are about RESULTS." He claimed that "DACA activists and Hispanics will go hard against Dems" and "will start 'falling in love' with Republicans and their President!"

On Tuesday, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said that Trump wants "responsible immigration reform" and added that DACA is "certainly a priority."

For about a decade, Democrats and some Republicans have pushed for legislation to enshrine legal protections for the young immigrants. Versions of the DREAM Act, championed by Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., and frequently co-sponsored by GOP lawmakers, have failed to gain traction in the GOP-held Congress in recent years.

The Obama-era program shielded nearly 800,000 undocumented immigrants.

Trump ran on a platform of cracking down on immigration and constructing a physical barrier on the southern U.S. border. Months before announcing his decision to end DACA, the president said he was "going to show great heart" toward the immigrants.