WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump on Thursday told young immigrants left in limbo by his rescinding of an Obama-era amnesty program that they “have nothing to worry about” in the short term, tweeting a reassurance that House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said was at her urging.
The apparent acquiescence was among the latest in cross-the-aisle collaboration between the Republican president and the opposition party.
Trump, a day earlier, struck a deal with congressional Democrats on a three-month debt limit increase, seemingly acting against the interests of GOP lawmakers.
“For all of those (DACA) that are concerned about your status during the 6 month period, you have nothing to worry about — No action!” Trump tweeted of the 800,000 people granted deportation reprieve under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals initiative, or DACA, which he has begun to dismantle.
Pelosi (D-Calif.) said later at the Capitol: “I was reporting to my colleagues. I said, ‘This is what I’m going to ask the president to do,’ and boom, boom, the tweet appeared, so that was good.”
Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) have called for a stand-alone vote this month on the Dream Act, which would provide legal status to DACA beneficiaries.
The young immigrants were brought to the United States illegally as children and now attend school, work and serve in the U.S. military. They call themselves “Dreamers” after the legislation.
House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) reiterated Thursday that he wants border security as part of the package, saying, “DACA is a symptom of a problem. . . . It’s only reasonable that we deal with the root cause of the problem — open borders, uncontrolled borders.”
Officials of both parties have said the Dreamers entered the country illegally through no fault of their own, may not know another home and deserve a more permanent solution than DACA.
On Tuesday morning, Trump announced he is winding down DACA and giving Congress six months to replace it with legislation.
That night, he tweeted that he “will revisit” the issue if Congress fails to act by March 5, opening the door to unilateral action.
Trump has yet to specify what he would do.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders would not confirm Thursday whether Pelosi had indeed asked Trump to send a tweet easing the fears of Dreamers.
Pelosi said she had told Trump when he called: “The people really need a reassurance from you, Mr. President, that the six-month period is not a period of roundup, but is just that DACA is frozen and that these people will not be vulnerable.”
Sanders said Trump also spoke by phone, separately, with Schumer, Ryan and McConnell.
The president had gathered the four congressional leaders for a bipartisan meeting at the White House on Wednesday, when he sided with the Democrats on the debt limit extension. The deal includes a multibillion-dollar emergency aid package for Hurricane Harvey-battered Texas and Louisiana.