President Trump said Thursday that House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell are "on board" with a tentative bipartisan plan to pass the Dream Act to protect illegal immigrants brought to the U.S. as children, and include border security measures that stop short of building a border wall.
"Mitch is on board. Paul Ryan is on board. We all feel — look, 92 percent of the people agree on DACA, but what we want is we want very, very powerful border security, okay," Trump told reporters outside the White House before departing for Florida.
Trump said the Republicans, along with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, are in agreement on how to handle the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
"Well, we want to get massive border security, and I think both Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, I think they agree with it. We met last night, as you know, Schumer, Pelosi and a whole group. I think we're fairly close, but we have to get massive border security," Trump added.
By late morning, McConnell's office released a statement confirming he was interested in the immigration talks.
"As Congress debates the best ways to address illegal immigration through strong border security and interior enforcement, DACA should be part of those discussions. We look forward to receiving the Trump administration's legislative proposal as we continue our work on these issues," McConnell said.
However, McConnell did not promise to include protections for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals recipients in any potential immigration reform legislation, but confirmed he spoke with Trump this morning about "the need for strong security measures and the need to address DACA."
Earlier Thursday morning, Trump denied Democratic leaders' claim that they will not include the border wall in a solution to DACA ending.
"No deal was made last night on DACA. Massive border security would have to be agreed to in exchange for consent. Would be subject to vote," Trump tweeted. "The WALL, which is already under construction in the form of new renovation of old and existing fences and walls, will continue to be built."
But several Democrats said they believe Trump has agreed to keep wall funding out of a bill addressing DACA. Trump seemed to acknowledge that outside the White House.
"The wall will come later," he told reporters.
Pelosi told her Democratic colleagues in a letter Wednesday Ryan wants to add measures to a bill protecting illegal immigrants who entered the country as children, and said Democrats are already suggesting a bipartisan border security bill.
"Earlier in the day, Leader Hoyer and I, along with the Tri-Caucus Chairs, met with Speaker Ryan to encourage passage of the DREAM Act," Pelosi wrote in a letter released Thursday morning. "He suggested that he may need border security measures and we suggested the McCaul-Thompson border security package that unanimously passed the Homeland Security Committee."That bipartisan bill passed a few years ago, and would require the government to develop a comprehensive border security plan.Pelosi also told Democrats "any solution to the challenge facing the DREAMers must include the DREAM Act sponsored by Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard" and promised to update lawmakers about border security suggestions that Republicans may offer.