Local leaders push to protect DACA recipients as budget deadline looms

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Congressman Luis Gutierrez and other Democrats oppose a budget deal that ties a DACA agreement to a funding for a border wall. (WLS)

State and local leaders are pushing Republicans to protect millions of immigrants in the United States, just as the president drew a line in the sand on immigration on Sunday.

At a press conference following a meeting with Republican congressional leaders at Camp David, President Donald Trump said he will not sign legislation protecting hundreds of thousands of undocumented youth, unless Congress agrees to overhaul the legal immigration system as a whole.

"We want the wall. We're going to have the wall or we won't have DACA. We want to end chain migration. And we want to get rid of the lottery system," Trump said.

Government funding is scheduled to run out in less than two weeks on Jan. 19, which means a deal needs to happen soon. Some Democrats are threatening to withhold their votes and force a government shutdown if an acceptable solution is not found.

In September, Trump ordered an end to DACA, the Obama-era program which shields undocumented youth, brought to the U.S. by their parents, against deportation -- calling on Congress to find a permanent solution.

Democrats have insisted any long-term deal on the budget, must be tied to an agreement on DACA, one that does not include funding for a border wall.

At a town hall-style meeting on Saturday in Chicago's Pilsen neighborhood, Congressman Luis Gutierrez went one step further and rejected the president's other demands as well, including one that would restrict citizens' ability to request green cards for their family members.

"We're going to say to that child, you no longer have to fear deportation. But we're also going to say to that child: in order for that to happen we're coming after your mom, we're coming after your dad," said Gutierrez, D-Chicago.

Nearly 800,000 young people are protected by DACA, including 19-year-old college student Damariz Posadas.

"We do not want to be used as bargaining chips. We are not bargaining chips. We're human beings," Posadas said.
Related Topics:
politicsdacaPresident Donald Trumpbudgetcongressu.s. & worldChicagoPilsen
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