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Senate Democratic Leader Says Border Wall Is 'Off The Table'

The top Democrat in the Senate is no longer willing to support funding for the wall along the southern border that President Trump promised voters he would force Mexico to finance.

According to The New York Times, Sen. Charles Schumer declared Tuesday that “the wall offer’s off the table.” Previously, the New York lawmaker reportedly agreed to include money for the border barrier in a budget bill if the legislation also preserved the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which blocks the deportation of undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children.

Trump blasted the Democratic leader on Twitter. “Cryin’ Chuck Schumer fully understands, especially after his humiliating defeat, that if there is no Wall, there is no DACA,” the president wrote. “We must have safety and security, together with a strong Military, for our great people!”

Schumer withdrew his offer the day after Congress ended a three-day government shutdown by approving a spending measure to keep federal agencies operating until Feb. 8. The impasse resulted from Republicans refusing to save DACA and Democrats declining to back any budget plan without the provision.

The Senate majority leader, Kentucky Republican Mitch McConnell, pledged to allow a “fair and open” debate on immigration following approval of a budget.

Advocates for the so-called “Dreamers” whom DACA protects are scrambling to find another way to prevent the immigrants from being sent back to their native countries. At stake is the fate of hundreds of thousands of people, who have found themselves in the middle of the congressional stalemate over immigration policy.

Schumer’s statement has complicated the situation, according to GOP Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, the second-ranking Republican in the upper chamber. “If he wants a solution, that’s a step backward,” he said.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders alleged that Schumer “is trying to rescind an offer that he never made in the first place, and misled the public about.”

DACA, which the Obama administration created, has allowed about 800,000 young immigrants to stay in the United States. Trump announced in September that he would repeal the program unless Congress fixed what he considers unconstitutional elements by March 5.

Many lawmakers would rather resolve the issue as part of the longer-term spending package that must pass by Feb. 8. “What came out of this mess was a date certain to move on immigration,” said Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, referring to the government shutdown and short-term budget deal.

“That’s positive. Whether you’re a Democrat or a Republican, we’re now moving on immigration," he said.

"That wouldn’t have happened without this conflict.”

While Graham supports comprehensive immigration reform, more conservative senators do not. “I think the top priority for Senate Democrats is amnesty for people here illegally,” Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas said.

“They just shut the government down over amnesty, and so I don’t think Senator Schumer and Senate Democrats are interested in securing the border.”

Comprehensive reform has nearly happened two times, during the administrations of George W. Bush and Barack Obama, but ultimately failed to garner a sufficient number of votes on Capitol Hill. Even if the Senate eventually passes such legislation, the House of Representatives would also have to approve the measure and the president would need to sign it.

Source: New York Times, Twitter
Photo: CNN Screenshot, Donald Trump/Twitter, YouTube

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