AUSTIN (KXAN) — When President Donald Trump invited Republican lawmakers to the White House to talk about the next steps on immigration, he told them he wants money for his border wall and an end to the diversity visa lottery. But, Democrats say they won’t support the plan unless it includes a replacement for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, the program that allows undocumented immigrants who arrived in the United States as children to avoid deportation.
Any deal on DACA will likely have to come from Congress. It’s forcing lawmakers to strike a difficult balance.
“My constituents in Texas all understand the importance of border security and enforcement,” Senator John Cornyn, R-Texas, told President Trump at a White House meeting. “At the same time, they are people with big hearts.”
“This is John Cornyn’s problem,” said Dr. Brian Smith, a political science professor and Associate Dean at St. Edwards University. Smith sees Cornyn as one of the people who needs to broker the deal.
“He’s facing both ends of the spectrum, a very Republican right that says DACA is amnesty, plus a Republican right that says, ‘hey, build the wall.'” But Smith says Cornyn also represents people who support the Dreamers. “These are people who are here in Texas and they’re his constituents. He needs to deal with both of these, and he’s going to have a hard job doing it.”
The White House says President Trump plans to meet with Senate Democrats next week. The president gave Congress a deadline of March 5 to act. If there’s no agreement, and he does not extend the deadline, Dreamers would lose their protections from deportation on that date. That deadline comes one day before the Texas Primary election.