Trump says he’s open to pathway to US citizenship for ‘Dreamers’

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump says he’s open to an immigration plan that would provide a pathway to citizenship for hundreds of thousands of young people who were brought to the country as children and are now here illegally.

“We’re going to morph into it,” Trump told reporters Wednesday. “It’s going to happen, at some point in the future, over a period of 10 to 12 years.”

Trump’s pronouncements came as the White House announced it would unveil a legislative framework on immigration next week that it hopes can pass both the House and the Senate. The president’s remarks amounted to a preview of that framework. He said he’ll propose $25 billion for building a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border and $5 billion for other security measures.

But immediately after Trump spoke, a senior White House official stressed the idea of a pathway to citizenship for so-called “Dreamers” was just a “discussion point” in the plan that the White House intended to preview to the House and Senate.

Despite his previously harsh rhetoric, Trump told reporters he had a message for the Dreamers: “Tell ’em not to be concerned, OK? Tell ’em not to worry. We’re going to solve the problem.”

Trump has said repeatedly that any deal to protect those immigrants from deportation is contingent on money for the border wall and other security measures. Trump also wants to limit the family members that immigrants are able to sponsor to join them in the U.S. and either replace or transform a visa lottery aimed at increasing diversity.

Trump has given Congress until March to come up with a plan to protect the nearly 700,000 young people who had been protected from deportation and given the right to work legally in the country under the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA. Trump announced he was ending DACA last year.

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