- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 14, 2017

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan on Thursday shot down the notion that President Trump has reached the outlines of a deal to legalize illegal immigrant “Dreamers,” saying flatly that “there’s no agreement.”

“This was not a negotiation, these were discussions, understanding people’s decisions,” Mr. Ryan told reporters.

He said there will be an eventual compromise, but the GOP stance has not changed, and any eventual bill will have to include both border security and interior enforcement aimed at trying to prevent more illegal immigration in the future.

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Mr. Ryan said Mr. Trump understands he’ll have to get Republicans on board whatever he negotiates, so that means it will have to make a dent in illegal immigration.

He also said it’s Democrats who are coming to understand the importance of enforcement to any final deal.

The Wisconsin Republican was doing clean-up duty after a working dinner Mr. Trump held with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer at the White House Wednesday night.

The two Democratic leaders emerged to say they’d reached a framework that would quickly grant legal status to illegal immigrant Dreamers — with the chance at citizenship — in exchange for more border security. The Democrats said, though, that Mr. Trump’s border wall wouldn’t be part of the deal, which would instead focus on sensors and drones along the U.S.-Mexico line.

Though the White House initially shot down that readout Wednesday, Mr. Trump confirmed it Thursday, saying he didn’t need to have wall funding included in the bill to legalize “Dreamers.” He said, however, that he will demand funding as part of a budget bill or other legislation, and said unless that’s clearly in the pipeline, he won’t accept a “Dreamer” deal.

Mr. Ryan went further, saying stiff enforcement must be part of any eventual agreement — though he declined to talk specifics.

Mr. Trump last week announced he would phase out the Obama-era DACA program that granted a tentative deportation amnesty to hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants who called themselves “Dreamers.” They are young adults who came to the U.S. as children, and who have long been seen as the most sympathetic figures in the debate.

The president gave Congress a six-month period to enact new protections to replace the legally questionable DACA program.

Mrs. Pelosi said any solution must include a full, though long-term, pathway to citizenship for “Dreamers.” Mr. Trump on Thursday said that wasn’t part of his vision.

“We’re not looking at citizenship. We’re not looking at amnesty. We’re looking at allowing people to stay here,” he said.

He also said that while the wall doesn’t have to be part of the actual legalization bill, he’ll need assurances it’s in the pipeline.

“Very important is the wall. We have to be sure the wall isn’t obstructed because without the wall I wouldn’t do anything,” he said. “It doesn’t have to be here, but they can’t obstruct the wall if it’s in a budget or anything else.”

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