Trump: Any deal on DACA must include additional border security, immigration reforms

Key Points
  • The president signals a willingness to move forward to protect undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children.
  • But he adds: "Any legislation on DACA must secure the border with a wall."
  • "This legislation must stop chain migration, and it must end the visa lottery," Trump says.
Trump: DACA legislation must include wall, end visa lottery

President Donald Trump signaled his willingness on Thursday to provide protections for "Dreamers" but only if a deal includes a border wall with Mexico and tightens immigration restrictions.

Trump made his comments to reporters during a meeting with Republican senators to discuss immigration policy, including a March deadline to restore protections under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

"Any legislation on DACA must secure the border with a wall, it must give our immigration officers the resources they need to stop illegal immigration, and also to stop these overstays," Trump said.

"Crucially, this legislation must stop chain migration, and it must end the visa lottery," he added, "and I think many of the Democrats agree with us on that."

Trump then described, incorrectly, how the green card lottery system works. He implied that other countries get to decide who can enter the lottery, which is in fact administered by the U.S. State Department. He also suggested that lottery applicants are not carefully screened, which is also inaccurate.

"We need to ensure that our immigration officers have the tools and resources they need," Trump said, adding that border patrol agents had supported Trump's presidential campaign.

It remains far from certain that congressional Democrats will agree to the terms that Trump outlined for a DACA deal. Early negotiations indicate that Democrats would be open to increases in border security funding but not to fundamentally changing the visa lottery program or the family migration system.

Trump announced in September that he would cancel Obama-era DACA protections for some 800,000 young people who were brought to the United States by their parents, when they were children. At the time, the president gave Congress six months to pass legislation enshrining DACA protections into law.