White House: Border wall funding doesn’t have to be tied to DACA legislation

White House: Border wall funding doesn’t have to be tied to DACA legislation
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White House legislative affairs director Marc Short told reporters on Tuesday that President Trump would not demand that border wall funding is tied to a legislative replacement for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. 

Speaking at a roundtable event hosted by the Christian Science Monitor, Short said the administration didn’t want to “bind” itself by making a demand that would likely be a nonstarter for many lawmakers.

“We’re interested in getting border security and the president has made the commitment to the American people that a barrier is important to that security,” Short said. “Whether or not that is part of a DACA equation, or ... another legislative vehicle, I don’t want to bind us into a construct that would make the conclusion on DACA impossible.”

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There had been speculation that Trump would require any compromise on potential DACA legislation include money for a wall along the southern border.

Short was adamant that his remarks are not an indication that the president is going soft on the wall.

“The president is not backing off a border wall,” he said. “The president is committed to sticking by the commitment that a physical structure is needed ... whether that is part of a DACA package or another package, I won’t prejudge that today, but he’s committed to getting that wall built.”

Short's comments echo House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), who similarly said last week that he wouldn't demand border wall funding be tied to DACA legislation. 

“I don’t know that it’s border wall funding, but it’s certainly a secure southern border,” Meadows told reporters on Thursday.

After announcing a plan to phase out DACA, which protects nearly 800,000 young people brought to the country illegally as minors, the president surprised many on the right by saying that he’s hopeful Congress will provide a legislative replacement that might spare them from being deported.

The Justice Department has said deporting the so-called Dreamers is not a priority.