GOP Sen. Says Trump Wants Congress To Protect Only Current DACA Recipients

J. Scott Applewhite/AP

After dining with President Donald Trump on Monday night, Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) said Tuesday that the President wants legislation restoring the protections of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program to only apply to those who currently have DACA status.

“The president was very clear. Any effort to codify DACA needs to, one, be limited to DACA so the first criteria under the law should be you have a DACA permit today,” Cotton told Politico.

“Second, any deal has to end chain migration. And then third, it ought to include some kind of enhanced measures, whether it’s on the border or interior enforcement or what have you,” the senator added.

Cotton and several other Republican lawmakers joined Trump for dinner Monday night at the White House to discuss immigration. It appears that conversation differed from his talks with Democratic leaders.

Trump met with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) in September about a legislative deal to restore DACA, which gives some undocumented young people work permits and shields them from deportation. Trump said that he was “close” to a deal with the Democratic leaders on restoring those protections, though he clarified at the time that he’s not interested in the legislation including “amnesty” or a path to citizenship for DACA recipients.

The most recent version of the DREAM Act, favored by Democrats, would provide legal status to all undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. before they turned 18 and have been in the U.S. for four straight years before the legislation’s enactment, not only to those who already have DACA protection. So a push to limit a bill to current DACA recipients could rankle Democrats.

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