US President Donald Trump said Wednesday he was prepared to back a deal that would provide a pathway to citizenship to America’s so-called “Dreamer” immigrants over a period of 10 to 12 years.
The latest approach by the White House suggests a key development in negotiations over some 700,000 immigrants who were brought to the country illegally as children, and face deportation as early as March.
“We are going to morph into it,” Trump told reporters about the citizenship provision. “It’s going to happen, at some point in the future, over a period of 10 to 12 years.”
US lawmakers have struggled for months to negotiate a compromise over the status of the Dreamers. An impasse over the issue, a source of bitter partisan tension in Washington, recently shut down the government for three days.
In reaching a deal to resume federal operations, the Senate’s Republican leader Mitch McConnell said Congress would aim to negotiate an immigration agreement by February 8, and if a deal is not struck by then, the issue would be taken up in debate on the Senate floor.
Although Trump did not provide details on the pathway to citizenship, his comments are perhaps the most telling sign that a broader deal might be within reach.
They came just hours after the White House announced it will release a “legislative framework” for immigration reform on Monday that is acceptable to both Democrats and Republicans.
“After decades of inaction by Congress, it’s time we work together to solve this issue once and for all,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders told journalists.