US President Donald Trump on Saturday offered to temporarily shield a million immigrants from deportation if Congress authorizes funding for his Mexican border wall — an idea Democrats rejected, making the US government shutdown likely to continue.
Trump attempted to seize the initiative in ending the 29-day partial shutdown, a funding freeze that has left many important government departments relying on unpaid or highly reduced staff.
His bargain, announced in a televised White House address, held out the carrot of protection from deportation for two categories of immigrants.
These include 700,000 so-called “Dreamers,” children of people who settled illegally in the United States, and who have become a favorite cause of the Democrats, as well as 300,000 other immigrants whose protected status is expiring, Trump said.
The president said these concessions would “build the trust and goodwill necessary to begin real immigration reform.”
In return, Trump demanded the $5.7 billion he says is needed to extend fences on the border with Mexico, something the opposition Democrats have repeatedly refused to authorize. That has prompted the president to retaliate with the government shutdown, which he triggered by not signing off on funding to swaths of departments.
The president also called for $800 million in “urgent humanitarian assistance” and $805 million for drug detection technology to help secure US ports of entry.
“I’m here today to break the logjam and provide Congress with a path forward to end the government shutdown and solve the crisis on the southern border,” Trump said in his address.