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By Allan Smith
President Donald Trump lit into Democrats — and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in particular — in a Sunday tweetstorm in which he appeared to threaten to increase deportations of undocumented immigrants living in the United States and defended his proposal to end the partial government shutdown.
That offer, which Trump presented Saturday in a White House address, included giving about 1 million immigrants a three-year protection from deportation in exchange for $5.7 billion in funding for a wall along the U.S. southern border. Those immigrants include 700,000 who were brought to the country illegally as children and remain protected by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and 300,000 who fled their countries and are facing the expiration of their “temporary protected status.”
While Republicans praised the proposal and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell pledged to bring it before the full Senate for a vote this week, Democrats panned the deal because it did not ensure permanent protections for those two vulnerable populations and funded a border wall they say is unnecessary. Additionally, some on the far-right complained that the deal amounted to “amnesty” for those 1 million immigrants.
Pelosi said in a Saturday statement that the proposal was “a compilation of several previously rejected initiatives, each of which is unacceptable and in total do not represent a good faith effort to restore certainty to people’s lives.”
“It is unlikely that any one of these provisions alone would pass the House, and taken together, they are a nonstarter,” she said. “For one thing, this proposal does not include the permanent solution for the Dreamers and TPS recipients that our country needs and supports.”
Nearly 800,000 federal workers are affected by the partial government shutdown, which has gone on for nearly a month and is the longest in U.S. history, with many working without pay or furloughed from their jobs. Federal contractors, not included in that number, are losing about $200 million a day.
Trump also tweeted about his upcoming State of the Union address, which Pelosi suggested he delay or submit in writing on its originally agreed-upon date next week because of security concerns related to the partial government shutdown.
After Pelosi sent Trump a letter last week urging the delay, the president pulled the plug on a military plane that was set to take her and other members of Congress to visit troops in Afghanistan. Trump said lawmakers should remain in Washington in order to negotiate an end to the government shutdown.
On Sunday morning, Trump wrote, “Nancy, I am still thinking about the State of the Union speech, there are so many options — including doing it as per your written offer (made during the Shutdown, security is no problem), and my written acceptance. While a contract is a contract, I’ll get back to you soon!”