Lawmakers huddle on replacing Dreamer legislation

Lawmakers huddle on replacing Dreamer legislation
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Republicans and Democrats laid out their positions on so-called Dreamer legislation and border security in a "productive" meeting in House Speaker Paul RyanPaul RyanRyan: Graham-Cassidy 'best, last chance' to repeal ObamaCare Ryan: Americans want to see Trump talking with Dem leaders Overnight Finance: CBO to release limited analysis of ObamaCare repeal bill | DOJ investigates Equifax stock sales | House weighs tougher rules for banks dealing with North Korea MORE's (R-Wis.) office Wednesday.

Attendants at the meeting, which included Ryan and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), refused to discuss its content, but said it was "good" and "productive."

A Republican staffer speaking on background said specific border enforcement measures were discussed at the meeting, but declined to say what those were.

The meeting followed another one between bipartisan lawmakers and President Trump at the White House, in which Trump said he would not seek to link border wall funding to legislative action on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Trump also pushed lawmakers to move quickly on replacing the executive initiative with a legislative solution.

Both sides have said they want legislative action to help immigrants brought to the country illegally as children but have yet to agree on what, if any, measures should be tied to the bill.

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Ryan called the meeting at the behest of Democrats, after Trump canceled DACA, a program that currently protects 690,000 immigrants from deportation.

“This afternoon, the Speaker and Majority Leader met with a number of House Democrats at their request to discuss DACA, and they reiterated that any solution needs to address border security and enforcement, which are the root causes of the problem. Discussions among the Republican conference will continue in the coming weeks,” said AshLee Strong, a spokeswoman for Ryan.

Ryan said earlier Wednesday that border security measures would be necessary in any immigration bill, because "that was the root cause of this, which is we do not have operational control of our borders."

Congressional Hispanic Caucus Chairwoman Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-N.M.) also said earlier Wednesday her caucus would not be opposed to border security measures, but said Democrats would not agree to border wall funding, interior immigration enforcement or an increase in migrant detention centers.

A source with knowledge of the discussion said the meeting was more like a "listening session," where both sides laid out their vision of what they would deem acceptable enhanced border enforcement.

Ryan has said he'd support a border wall, as proposed by President Trump, in parts of the border where federal agents say they require it.

Democrats have hinted at increased funding for the Coast Guard — an agency responsible for a large proportion of drug interdiction coming into the country — or improved ports of entry.

Rep. Raúl Labrador (R-Idaho), a member of the conservative Freedom Caucus with experience negotiating bipartisan immigration bills, said conservatives would demand increased interior enforcement and border security to get any deal through.

Labrador was not at the meeting.

Labrador said that to prevent the legalization of DACA recipients' status from attracting a new wave of immigrants, conditions would have to be such that federal authorities could quickly find and deport new illegal entrants.

He added that quick deportations were essential for an immigration enforcement system to work.

"If they've been here for a day, it's not a moral issue. If they've been here for 12 or 15 years ..." he said.