DEMOCRATS said on Tuesday they had withdrawn an offer to fund U.S. President Donald Trump’s border wall, as tough negotiations over the future of young illegal immigrants known as “Dreamers” resumed in the Senate.
A day after the end of a government shutdown linked to wrangling over immigration, Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said he pulled the offer because of what he said was Trump’s failure to follow through on the outlines of an agreement the two men discussed last Friday.
The Congressional Hispanic Caucus expressed fears on Tuesday that Republicans in the House of Representatives would pursue a harsh immigration bill written by Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte.
The House measure would allow Dreamers to renew their legal status for three years, instead of putting them on a pathway to citizenship, and would call for hiring 10,000 more agents at U.S. borders while shutting down some visa programs and taking other steps to find people who are in the country illegally.
During the 2016 election campaign, Republican Trump said Mexico would pay the cost of building a wall along the southwestern border of the United States to keep out illegal immigrants. Mexico has rejected the idea.
As a result, Trump has been forced to ask Congress for U.S. taxpayer funds for the wall. Government estimates are that it could cost over $21 billion.
With Democrats and many Republicans arguing there are more effective border enforcement tools than a wall, the proposal has become a major sticking point in immigration negotiations, which in turn have complicated talks about funding federal agencies.