Trump expected to call for immigration meeting amid stalled talks

Trump expected to call for immigration meeting amid stalled talks
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President TrumpDonald John TrumpSarah Huckabee Sanders becomes Fox News contributor The US-Iranian scuffle over a ship is a sideshow to events in the Gulf South Korea: US, North Korea to resume nuclear talks 'soon' MORE is expected to call for a bipartisan meeting next week to break through a stalemate on immigration that threatens to derail a yearlong government funding bill, a key GOP senator said Thursday.

Republican and Democratic negotiators say they’re still far apart on a prospective deal to protect an estimated 800,000 immigrants who came to the country illegally as children from deportation in exchange for stronger border security measures. The Obama-era program that had been protecting them, called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), was rescinded by Trump.

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“It’s pretty clear to me that the president wants to get this addressed and is willing to call a meeting early next week, a bipartisan meeting to work through the differences,” Senate Republican Whip John CornynJohn CornynThe Hill's Morning Report - Trump hews to NRA on guns and eyes lower taxes The Hill's Morning Report - Trump on defense over economic jitters Democrats keen to take on Cornyn despite formidable challenges MORE (Texas) said Thursday after meeting with Trump earlier in the day.

Democrats are insisting on an immigration deal to protect so-called Dreamers as part of a yearlong spending package but lawmakers are currently in a stalemate, with Democrats balking at Republican proposals to beef up border security.

Two GOP negotiators, Sens. James LankfordJames Paul LankfordGOP group calls on Republican senators to stand up to McConnell on election security in new ads Hillicon Valley: GOP hits back over election security bills | Ratcliffe out for intel chief | Social media companies consider policies targeting 'deepfakes' | Capital One, GitHub sued over breach The Hill's 12:30 Report: Biden camp feels boost after Detroit debate MORE (Okla.) and Thom TillisThomas (Thom) Roland TillisThe United States broken patent system is getting worse Gun reform groups to pressure GOP senators with rallies in all 50 states To cash in on innovation, remove market barriers for advanced energy technologies MORE (N.C.), say the talks have gone backward over the last few weeks.

“Unfortunately, our discussions on border security and enforcement with Democrats are much further apart, and that is key to getting a bipartisan deal on DACA,” Lankford and Tillis said in a joint statement.

The negotiators said that unless Democrats give ground on border security and related immigration reform issues, "we cannot accomplish the solutions our country needs and many families deserve." 

"More work remains ahead,” they said in their statement.

Trump in a meeting with Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee said he wants lawmakers to end chain migration, scrap the diversity visa lottery program and secure the southern border as part of a deal with Democrats to protect young immigrants from deportation.

In September, the president moved to rescind the DACA program and gave Congress six months to come up with a legislative replacement for the program.

Trump told GOP lawmakers at a meeting Thursday that chain migration, which gives preferential treatment to the relatives of legal U.S. residents, is “a total disaster which threatens our security and economy” and that the visa lottery program, which allows immigrants from countries that do not send a lot of immigrants to the U.S.,  is “bad for our economy and bad for our security.”

He also said “we need a physical border wall.”

Lankford, who attended the meeting, later clarified to reporters that Trump has privately expressed willingness to be flexible on the wall.

“People want to paint that it’s some 2,000-mile long, 30-foot-high wall of concrete. That’s not what he means and not what he tries to say,” Lankford told reporters after sitting down with the president.

“There’s going to be border fencing in some areas, there’s going to be vehicular barricades, there’s going to be technology, there’s going to be greater manpower in some areas,” he added.

Lankford said Trump has been clear “in private.”