Sen. James Lankford (R-OK) said Thursday night that President Donald Trump told him he would extend the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program past March if Congress does not pass legislation restoring the protections by then, according to the Washington Post.
“The president’s comment to me was that, ‘We put a six-month deadline out there. Let’s work it out. If we can’t get it worked out in six months, we’ll give it some more time, but we’ve got to get this worked out legislatively,’” Lankford said at a town hall in Tulsa Thursday night, per the Washington Post.
Trump did not specify how long he would extend the DACA deadline, Lankford said. The President made the comments to Lankford over the phone in September, a spokesman for Lankford told the Washington Post.
When the end to DACA was announced, Trump suggested in a tweet that he could extend the program if Congress fails to act.
Congress now has 6 months to legalize DACA (something the Obama Administration was unable to do). If they can't, I will revisit this issue!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 6, 2017
The Trump administration announced in September that it would end the DACA program in March and called on Congress to restore the protections through legislation. At first, Trump seemed very willing to work with Democrats on a bill to restore DACA. Following a mid-September meeting with Democratic leaders, Trump said they were “close” to a deal and suggested the bill would not need to include funding for a border wall.
However, chances that Congress would quickly pass a bill to restore DACA dropped this week when the Trump administration issued hard-line demands for any bill protecting young undocumented immigrants. The White House said that any deal should include funding for the border wall and curb legal immigration, demands that Democrats and likely some Republicans will oppose.