It was an weird scene: For around an hour, cameras rolled as Trump moderated a conversation between Democrats and Republicans from both chambers of Congress on DACA - Trump's repeal of which has left almost 800,000 young people at risk of deportation - border security and so-called "chain migration" (this administration's term for existing family-based advantages for prospective immigrants). Some Democrats said they feel that Republicans invited to the meetings who have longstanding opposition to and arguments against DACA are slowing down the process.
Congress returns this week with the clock running down on efforts to save a program protecting young immigrants brought here illegally as children as part of the bill to keep the government funded.
Under pressure from immigrant groups ahead of midterm congressional elections in November, Democrats are reluctant to give ground to Trump on the issue of the wall - Trump's central promise from the 2016 presidential campaign.
"Yes, it has to be", Trump said when asked on whether funding for his border wall would have to be part of any agreement. Trump expressed a willingness to be flexible in finding an agreement as Democrats warned that the lives of hundreds of thousands of immigrants hung in the balance.
"I think my positions are going to be what the people in this room come up with", Trump said....
When I wrote earlier this morning that an immigration deal was possible, I didn't realize that President Trump was about to host a White House meeting on the very subject.
But since it's the day after the Trump administration rescinded temporary protected immigration status for Salvadoran refugees who fled damage from earthquakes in 2001, those negotiations are getting caught up in politics and the budget process.
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Top congressional leaders are not expected to attend Tuesday's meeting.
House Republicans said they planned to soon introduce legislation to address border security and the young immigrants. "Believe it or not, this is the least important thing that we are talking about, but politically this might be the most important talk about", he said, implying that the wall was little more than a well-marketed concept created to appeal to his voter base.
"We can do a great wall-you need the wall", Trump said after a question from Sen.
The president appeared to acknowledge the potential political pitfalls of pursuing a more permanent deal, telling the lawmakers, "I'll take all the heat you want. So that's where the negotiations are taking place". But the talks are deadlocked over Trump's demands for the wall and cuts to legal immigration, including ending a diversity visa lottery and ending what the president calls "chain migration", the practice of Americans sponsoring extended family members for green cards.
We're going to piss away money on a stupid vanity project for Donald Trump because he understands that if he doesn't build that wall, or at least act like he's trying to build it, his white nationalist, alt right base is going to turn on him, and they will not support a reelection bid in 2020 for Donald Trump, assuming that he hasn't been removed from office before then.
A former Trump appointee who resigned after a probe into a tribal loan program he oversaw is running for Congress in New Mexico. But in the meeting he indicated a willingness to compromise with Democrats, whose votes are needed in the narrowly divided Senate. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., one of the attendees.