Washington Democrats refuse Dreamer protections for border wall funding

Posted at 3:52 PM, Mar 19, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-19 18:54:46-04

WASHINGTON (KGTV and AP) — Washington Democrats turned down a deal Monday that would have provided protections for Dreamer immigrants in return for $25 billion in funding for President Trump's border wall.

Lawmakers have yet to agree on a $1.3 trillion catchall spending bill, as well as a major rail project.

The bill contains victories for both parties including a Pentagon budget increase requested by Republicans, and the domestic program, infrastructure and opiod crisis funding that Democrats want.

Efforts to use the measure as a vehicle to extend protections for young immigrants under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival, or DACA, program appeared likely to fail, aides said. Trump killed the Obama-era program in September, but a court decision has essentially left it in place, for now. The White House had revived the idea in recent days — offering on Sunday a 30-month extension of DACA protections in exchange for $25 billion for Trump's border wall — but Democrats demanded protections for a broader pool of immigrants than had signed up for DACA, a request denied by GOP negotiators.

There's also a continuing battle over Trump's long-promised U.S.-Mexico border wall. While Trump traveled to Otay Mesa last week to inspect prototypes for the wall, what's pending now is $1.6 billion for earlier designs involving sections in Texas that double as levees and 14 miles (23 kilometers) of replacement fencing in San Diego.

It appears Democrats may be willing to accept wall funding, but they are battling hard against Trump's demands for big increases for immigration agents and detention beds they fear would enable wide-scale roundups of immigrants illegally living in the U.S.

Aides believe any measure would be unveiled Tuesday for a House vote Thursday. House and Senate action is needed by midnight Friday to prevent another government shutdown.