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Sen. Coons decries shifting White House demands on DACA deal

Delaware Public Media

The clock is ticking for undocumented people who entered the U.S. illegally as children. Congress must take action to give them legal status by March. Work permits for the nearly 700,000 youth covered under DACA begin expiring at that time.

Former President Barack Obama started the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, known as DACA. It protects some youth who were brought here illegally by their parents as kids from deportation.

The Trump administration has released a list of things it wants in exchange for allowing DACA recipients, often called Dreamers, to stay. That includes border wall funding, deporting unaccompanied children who enter the country illegally and cracking down on sanctuary cities. Democrats reported last month they had a deal with Trump to give dreamers a path to citizenship and work out a compromise on security measures that didn’t include the border wall. Sen. Chris Coons (D-Delaware) says the new demands are a complete shift.

“That makes it difficult to craft legislative compromises, it makes it difficult for us to resolve some of the big challenges facing our country, whether it’s healthcare or tax reform or immigration policy,” he said.

The administration ended the DACA program last month. Work permits will start expiring early next year. Sen. Chris Coons said the White House’s shifting positions on Dreamers makes it harder to get a Congressional fix.

“The president has on a number of occasions, publicly disagreed with or undermined his own cabinet, leaders of his own party on the Hill and I think this is a principle reason a Republican-controlled Congress has yet to deliver a major legislative accomplishment,” he said.

Democrats like House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi have said the list is a non-starter.

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