President Trump, in a televised White House address Saturday, offered Democrats a compromise package on immigration in an effort to end the nearly monthlong partial government shutdown -- although some prominent Democrats were dismissing the olive branch as a "non-starter" before Trump even spoke.
Trump announced that he was prepared to back a three-year extension of protections for 700,000 immigrants who came to the country illegally as children and were shielded from deportation under the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. This, in exchange for the $5.7 billion he has requested for a barrier on the southern border with Mexico.
"Walls are not immoral," he said, adding that a wall "will save many lives and stop drugs from pouring into our country."
"This is not a concrete structure from sea to sea," he said, addressing some previously expressed concerns about the so-called "wall." "These are steel barriers in high-priority locations."
The offered deal would also extend protections for 300,000 recipients of the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) program -- which protects immigrants from designated countries with conditions that prevent nationals from returning safely.
"Our immigration system should be a source of pride, not a source of shame as it is all over the world," Trump said, before urging politicians to "take off their armor" and find solutions.
It would allocate $800 million for drug detection technology to secure ports of entry, 2,750 new border agents and law enforcement professionals, and 75 new immigration judges to reduce an immense backlog of asylum requests.
He said that all his proposals have been supported by Democrats before.
He spent much of the address talking about the dangers that an open border presented, describing a "very wide and open gateway for criminals and gang members to enter the United States." However, he also teased the possibility of future, broader immigration reform if his proposals were accepted by Congress.
"If we are successful in this effort, we will have the best chance in a long time at real, bipartisan immigration reform, and it won't stop here, it will keep going until we do it all," he said.
Government sources told Fox News before the announcement that the speech would form the basis for new legislation he hopes to get before the Senate next week. The proposal is similar to a compromise put forward by Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., that would include three year work permits for DACA recipients and extension of legal status for TPS holders, in exchange for the wall funding. Graham called the proposal "fantastic" in a tweet after the announcement.
A fantastic proposal Mr. President!— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) January 19, 2019
Let's get it done! https://t.co/m8bzYGRLTw