White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Tuesday that the White House had opened up a bipartisan, bicameral meeting on immigration with President Donald Trump to the press because the White House wanted the public to see "how we are working and leading to move the ball down the field to come up with real solutions".
The president said he would insist on construction of a border security wall as part of an agreement involving young immigrants, but he said Congress could then pursue a comprehensive immigration overhaul in the second phase.
"This should be a bill of love", Trump said.
Democrats counter that additional physical barriers along the border with Mexico wouldn't necessarily be the same as the massive, endless wall Trump vowed to build.
Trump expressed the necessity for increased border security by referencing the drug trade's malign effects. "And if there's other elements that have to be included in a broader deal to get signed into law, this is a foundation for that conversation".
The top Democrat in the House of Representatives, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, told reporters Monday, "I think we will" reach an agreement on the young immigrants, mainly because neither Democrats nor Republicans want a partial government shutdown at the end of next week.
His concern is about efforts by Trump and some congressional lawmakers to include issues not related to immigrants brought into this country by their parents as children who were covered under the program Trump scuttled in September. "Because I respect them", he said.
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He criticized chain migration and visa lotteries for the way they fail to ensure quality people immigrate to the United States, saying people who end up in lotteries are the "worst of the worst".
"We don't oppose building a wall, but that's certainly not our first priority", said Eric Ruark, director of research at NumbersUSA.
Trump wants a deal that extends DACA but also boosts border security and limits the federal chain migration and visa lottery systems, which he blames for admitting Sayfullo Saipov, the suspect in the West Side Highway truck killings.
The president appeared to acknowledge the potential political pitfalls of pursuing a more permanent deal, telling the lawmakers, "I'll take all the heat you want".
"I would have more faith in the meeting if they would have people going who really knew the issue from our side", she said, adding that she was not criticizing Durbin.
But lawmakers said that is not likely at Tuesday's meeting as they consider options for resolving the standoff with Trump. "Whatever it includes to make the border secure I am going to be for". How can the GOP give Trump a win on the wall without alienating Democrats from a bipartisan solution on DACA? Democrats have suggested they would risk a government shutdown if spending bills do not include a measure that helps the almost 800,000 DACA beneficiary population.