WASHINGTON (CBSNewYork/AP) — Depending on whom you ask, President Donald Trump either made a deal Wednesday night to protect hundreds of thousands of immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as children, or he did not.
Two top Democrats House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-California) and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-New York) said Trump agreed to a DACA deal that would stop nearly 800,000 young immigrants from being deported – and did not include a border wall.
But the president says no such deal was made.
As CBS2’s Dick Brennan reported, it may be just a matter of semantics. Trump said there was no deal, but Democrats said it was a framework — granting “Dreamers” a chance to apply for legal status and pairing it with the border security Republicans want, but both sides have a different take on the fate of the border wall.
After a White House dinner with the president Wednesday night, Pelosi and Schumer released a statement announcing a major bipartisan deal saying they agreed to “enshrine the protections of DACA into law quickly” and to work out a package on border security — excluding Trump’s planned wall along the U.S. southern border.
“While both sides agree the wall would not be any part of this agreement, the president made clear he intends to pursue it at a later time and we made clear that we would continue to oppose it,” Schumer said.
Schumer said they reached an understanding and have to work out details. And it definitely does appear that the president has reached common ground with Democrats on with the issue.
“We’re talking about taking care of people — people who were brought people who have done a good job and were not brought here of their own volition,” Trump said.
Trump and Democratic leaders appeared to be on the same page Thursday about working on a solution that would allow Dreamers to stay in the country.
“We’re not looking at citizenship. We’re not looking at amnesty,” Trump said. “We’re looking at allowing people to stay here.”
Added Pelosi: “We’re not looking at amnesty. We’re never looking at amnesty.”
But while Schumer and Pelosi said the deal would not include funding for a border wall. But the president indicated the funding would have to come eventually.
“Very importantly, what we want — we have to have a wall. If the wall is going to be obstructed when we need the funds at a little later date, when we determine how much we need, then we are not doing anything,” Trump said after arriving in Florida Thursday.
Trump continued: “At some point they cannot obstruct the wall, the wall to me is vital, if I don’t get the wall then we will become the obstruction. We have to have an understanding that whether it’s in the budget or some other vehicle in a fairly short period of time the wall will be funded, otherwise we’re not doing any deal.”
Trump earlier addressed both the border wall and DACA on Twitter.
“No deal was made last night on DACA,” Trump tweeted before daybreak Thursday. “Massive border security would have to be agreed to in exchange for consent. Would be subject to vote.”
But in what appeared to be a mixed message the president also tweeted: “Does anybody really want to throw out good, educated and accomplished young people who have jobs, some serving in the military? Really!”
“They have been in our country for many years through no fault of their own – brought in by parents at young age. Plus BIG border security,” he added.
He also tweeted, “The WALL, which is already under construction in the form of new renovation of old and existing fences and walls, will continue to be built.”
Democrats have indicated they won’t support a wall, now or ever.
“We’re not for the wall. We’ll never be for the wall,” Schumer said. “It’s a medieval solution for a modern-day problem.”
In the meantime, Republican leaders were quick to point out that any deal would have to go through them.
“I think the president understands that he’s going to have to work with the congressional majorities to get any kind of legislative solution,” said House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin).
Ryan also said there was no agreement with Democrats.
“These were discussions not negotiations. There isn’t an agreement,” Ryan said. “You cannot fix DACA without fixing the root cause of our problem, we do not have control of our borders. So we need border security and enforcement as part of any agreement.”
“If we don’t fix the problems we have with border security and enforcement and we would only fix DACA, we’re going to have another DACA problem a decade from now,” he added.
The president said Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) “agree with us on DACA.”
“Ninety-two percent of the people agree on DACA but what we want is we want very, very powerful border security,” Trump said.
Some conservative lawmakers see the president’s compromise as a betrayal.
“If AP is correct, Trump base is blown up, destroyed, irreparable, and disillusioned beyond repair. No promise is credible,” tweeted Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa).
The president’s aides have said in the past, he is OK leaving border wall funding out of this bill as long as he gets it passed in another bill.
“The wall will come later, we’re right now renovating large sections of wall, massive sections, making it brand new. We’re doing a lot of renovation,” Trump told reporters outside the White House on Thursday morning. “We’re building four different samples of the wall to see which one we’re going to choose and the wall is going to be built. It’ll be funded a little bit later.”
One thing does seem clear about all the dealings — Schumer appears to think he got one definite seal of presidential approval. He was caught on a hot C-SPAN microphone, speaking of Trump’s opinion of him, while channeling Sally Field.
“He likes. He likes us,” Schumer said. “He likes me anyway.”
Schumer was also heard saying he told Trump: “You’re much better off if you can sometimes step right and sometimes step left. If you have to step just in one direction, you’re boxed.”
Last week, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said DACA will end in six months, giving Congress time to find a legislative solution for the immigrants.
“I think a deal will be made before six months,” Trump said Thursday.
The executive order, enacted by the Obama administration in 2012, protects about 800,000 young immigrants who were brought to the United States by their undocumented parents, allowing the so-called “Dreamers” to enroll in the program and attend school and get work permits that are renewable every two years.
The Trump administration said it would phase out the program by allowing current permits to expire. New permit requests, which have already been submitted, will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
The day after Sessions’ announcement, 15 states and Washington, D.C. filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration over the issue.
Meanwhile in U.S. District Court in Brooklyn Thursday, a judge laid out an accelerated timeline for dealing with the lawsuit over DACA.
As WCBS 880’s Mike Smeltz reported, a federal judge laid out an accelerated timeline for the case, which is important since without legislative intervention, DACA will end in six months.
The judge in the case pointedly asked questions to the federal government’s representative in the case, about why the Department of Homeland Security is holding so firmly onto an Oct. 5 deadline for Dreamers to reapply.
Karen Tumlin from the National Immigration Law Center, who is representing the plaintiff in the case, said the judge seemed to understand the potential harm ending DACA could inflict on dreamers.
“The court is taking very seriously the issues that are at stake here; families lives who have been thrown into chaos,” she said.
Tumlin said her organization will continue to push forward on their lawsuit until Congress acts and passes a law protecting dreamers.
(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)