House Speaker Paul Ryan said Thursday that "there will be a compromise" to protect the children of undocumented immigrants that would include funds for border security, just a day after Democratic leaders touted an agreement with President Donald Trump to do just that.
"There will be a compromise. We believe this will occur, and this compromise will include border security and enforcement so that we don't wind up with another DACA problem ten years down the road," Ryan told reporters Thursday.
At the same time, Ryan cast doubt on statements by Democratic leaders Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi about their meeting with Trump at the White House Wednesday night, saying repeatedly: "There's no agreement."
Following a dinner Wednesday night at the White House with Trump, Schumer and Pelosi announced in a joint statement that they had "agreed to enshrine the protections of DACA into law quickly and to work out a package of border security, excluding the wall, that’s acceptable to both sides."
But Ryan, speaking to reporters at a weekly press conference, said he had spoken with Trump and White House Chief of Staff John Kelly on Thursday "to discuss what was discussed" about DACA — the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program — at the dinner. "It was a discussion, not an agreement or a negotiation," Ryan said.
Confusion around what exactly Trump, Pelosi, and Schumer discussed began immediately following the Democratic leaders' statement Wednesday night. The White House appeared to push back against the supposed agreement and Trump tweeted in the morning that he hadn't reached a deal with Democratic leaders — which they then pointed was "not inconsistent with the agreement reached last night."
In subsequent tweets, Trump appeared to endorse protecting recipients of DACA, however, while pushing his campaign promise of a southern border wall. Then, Thursday, the president told reporters that he and Democrats were "working on a plan for DACA" and were "fairly close" to a deal that includes "massive border security."
Ryan agreed with Trump that border security provisions would need to be a part of a DACA deal. "You cannot fix DACA without fixing the root cause of our problem: We do not have control of our borders, so we need border security and enforcement as part of any agreement," Ryan said, adding that even some Democrats agree.
For his part, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said in a statement Thursday that he, too, had spoken with the president about DACA. “As Congress debates the best ways to address illegal immigration through strong border security and interior enforcement, DACA should be part of those discussions," the Kentucky Republican said. "We look forward to receiving the Trump administration’s legislative proposal as we continue our work on these issues.”
Trump announced last week that he was ending DACA and giving Congress until March to come up with a legislative solution to address protections for the 800,000 or so participants in the program.