On Saturday, Trump offered an olive branch to Democrats holding out on a budget deal, suggesting that the White House would be willing to cede ground on an extension on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Act, and offer help for Temporary Protected Status holders, in return for $5.7 billion in funding for the border wall.
Sunday morning, Trump suggested he may even be willing to consider a blanket "amnesty" for illegal immigrants living inside the United States, but only in return for a "bigger deal."
In an address from the White House Saturday, Trump addressed Democrats specifically, accusing Speaker of the House Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) of refusing to come to the bargaining table to end an ongoing partial government shutdown, which will cross the one-month mark this week.
Trump noted that the White House is willing to negotiate, and to underscore his claims, he offered a 3-year extension on the DACA Act — enough to allow Congress to consider a more permanent solution to former President Barack Obama's temporary executive order, extending legal protections to children of illegal immigrants who had no choice but to follow their parents to the United States — and peace of mind for workers covered by TPS — or "temporary protected status" provisions, allowing them to remain in-country pending further assessment by immigration officials.
In return, Democrats would agree to fund the border wall to the tune of $5.7 billion.
Although Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) agreed to bring the deal to the floor of the Senate this week, Rep. Pelosi was quick to dismiss the deal out of hand, demanding instead that the president authorize an end to the government showdown before sitting down at the bargaining table with Congressional Democrats.
Other members of the Democratic coalition called the plan everything from a "non-starter" to "more hostage taking" and "non-serious," according to The Hill. Others accused the president of simply re-issuing a deal Democrats and members of Congress rejected two years ago, at the start of Trump's tenure as president.
But Trump sweetened the deal on Sunday, announcing on Twitter that he planned to continue pressing forward on immigration even after a deal was reached to re-open the federal government, and suggesting to Democrats that he could be willing to consider a "blanket amnesty" provision legalizing thousands of illegal immigrants as part of a much larger, landmark deal on immigration.
No, Amnesty is not a part of my offer. It is a 3 year extension of DACA. Amnesty will be used only on a much bigger deal, whether on immigration or something else. Likewise there will be no big push to remove the 11,000,000 plus people who are here illegally-but be careful Nancy!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 20, 2019
He then went after Nancy Pelosi in an attempt to explain why she is having such a difficult time marshaling her colleagues to end the shutdown.
Nancy Pelosi has behaved so irrationally & has gone so far to the left that she has now officially become a Radical Democrat. She is so petrified of the “lefties” in her party that she has lost control...And by the way, clean up the streets in San Francisco, they are disgusting!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 20, 2019
Trump voters may not be happy with Sunday's suggestion that amnesty is technically on the table, given the hard line on immigration Trump took during his 2016 presidential campaign. At the time, Trump appeared to be considering a massive program that would, in fact, identify and deport millions of illegal immigrants in addition to instituting major interdiction efforts at the United States' southern border.
But Trump went on to note that work on the wall is ongoing with or without Democratic support, and that the wall will become a reality regardless of what both the White House and Congress decide to do about existing legal and illegal immigrants.