STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Congress hears optimism, uncertainty in Trump's remarks on citizenship

Immigration negotiators on Capitol Hill were listening closely Wednesday night when President Donald Trump ...

Posted: Jan 25, 2018 12:25 PM
Updated: Jan 25, 2018 12:26 PM

Immigration negotiators on Capitol Hill were listening closely Wednesday night when President Donald Trump opened the door to citizenship for hundreds of thousands of young immigrants.

They liked what they heard.

Lead negotiators in immigration say the President's comments show 'leadership'

"The President is headed in the right direction here," tweeted Sen. Dick Durbin, the lead Democratic negotiator in the immigration debate on Capitol Hill.

The comment was Trump's most explicit yet on where he stands on the future for recipients of the expiring Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, the kind of clue lawmakers on Capitol Hill have been urging the President to drop for months now and a moderate stance that lawmakers in the middle of the road have been hoping Trump could embrace.

But what the comment means for negotiations is still uncertain.

Lead negotiators in immigration say the President's comments represent "leadership," but whether Trump will stay there is an entirely different question.

"This statement represents presidential leadership on immigration that will allow us to solve a difficult problem," Sen. Lindsey Graham, a Republican from South Carolina, said in a statement. "I truly appreciate President Trump making it clear that he supports a path to citizenship for DACA recipients. This will greatly help the Senate efforts to craft a proposal which President Trump can sign into law."

Trump made the comment to reporters Wednesday evening just hours after the White House announced it would release a legislative framework next week that underscored the President's priorities on an immigration bill. Trump said he was open to giving DACA recipients citizenship over a 10- to 12-year period.

"We're going to morph into it," Trump said. "It's going to happen at some point in the future."

Still, the significance of the President's comments wasn't entirely clear Wednesday. His statement came days after a shutdown and after many Republicans had resigned themselves to the fact that they might have to go it alone on immigration. A group of dozens of bipartisan senators met Wednesday evening to pick their respective leaders for a negotiation among themselves. Democrats chose Durbin and Republicans chose Sen. John Cornyn of Texas to take up the torch and work through a bipartisan immigration bill in lieu of some clear presidential leadership.

Publicly, most acknowledge that Trump's position on immigration has been in a state of flux ever since he announced last fall that he was ending DACA. Whether that changed Wednesday was an open question.

"I think he's a person who is susceptible to hearing different arguments and being persuaded by people who are making good arguments, so I think in the end he's a guy who wants to get to a deal, so I think when people come in and make their case, it sometimes has an effect," the GOP's No. 3 Republican, Sen. John Thune of South Dakota, said last week.

Some have blamed Trump's adviser Stephen Miller, a hard-line conservative on immigration, for pulling the President far to the right on the issue even as moderate Republicans on Capitol Hill have tried to pull Trump to the middle.

During the shutdown, Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, a New York Democrat, lamented that negotiating with Trump was similar to negotiating with Jell-O because his positions could be so fluid.

For Trump -- who made his entire campaign about being tough on immigration -- accepting a path to citizenship for DACA recipients could bring with it attacks from the right flank of the party, which he's embraced.

The issue of citizenship has long been fraught with risk for Republicans. Sen. Marco Rubio, a Republican from Florida, struggled to explain his embrace of a Senate immigration bill that had included a path to citizenship for roughly 11 million immigrants in the country. And during his presidential campaign, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush also wavered on the question of whether he thought immigrants who are in the country illegally deserved a chance at citizenship.

Trump's statement on citizenship -- while promising to some -- could shift, and what the President will demand in return for citizenship is also still an unanswered question. Just two weeks ago, the President had said he'd accept any bipartisan immigration deal in a highly publicized meeting, only to skewer a major bipartisan proposal brought to him two days later.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 110759

Reported Deaths: 3503
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion20645758
Lake10172317
Elkhart6321108
St. Joseph600797
Allen5921200
Hamilton4646109
Vanderburgh327129
Hendricks2638121
Monroe236836
Johnson2250122
Tippecanoe218413
Clark210156
Porter203344
Cass19279
Delaware184261
Vigo175722
Madison156575
LaPorte135637
Floyd130061
Howard127063
Kosciusko118717
Bartholomew114557
Warrick111935
Marshall98024
Boone94446
Dubois94018
Hancock90042
Noble87632
Grant86733
Henry75424
Wayne73714
Jackson7319
Morgan69438
Shelby66329
Daviess63927
LaGrange62911
Dearborn62128
Clinton59112
Harrison55624
Putnam5209
Montgomery50221
Lawrence50028
White47814
Knox4769
Gibson4644
Decatur45339
DeKalb44211
Miami4223
Fayette41713
Greene41535
Jasper3802
Steuben3647
Scott35310
Sullivan32812
Jennings30812
Posey2940
Franklin29325
Clay2925
Orange28224
Ripley2788
Carroll26913
Wabash2608
Washington2571
Starke2487
Wells2472
Whitley2476
Adams2403
Jefferson2403
Fulton2302
Huntington2173
Spencer2154
Tipton21522
Randolph2067
Perry20213
Newton17011
Jay1680
Owen1641
Martin1590
Rush1494
Pike1361
Vermillion1250
Fountain1152
Blackford1142
Pulaski1131
Crawford1020
Brown1013
Parke932
Benton880
Union770
Ohio767
Switzerland680
Warren401
Unassigned0225

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 143547

Reported Deaths: 4612
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Franklin25846603
Cuyahoga17041642
Hamilton12698307
Montgomery7443152
Lucas7091357
Butler558699
Summit5073248
Marion305747
Mahoning2988279
Warren289348
Stark2723168
Pickaway262844
Lorain225386
Delaware211620
Fairfield199950
Columbiana191880
Licking185362
Trumbull1847131
Clark170738
Wood167971
Clermont161120
Lake157249
Medina142038
Allen136567
Miami134149
Greene133827
Portage106466
Mercer104417
Tuscarawas91020
Wayne89866
Erie89644
Ross84922
Richland78119
Madison77612
Darke75939
Belmont70527
Geauga70147
Hancock6559
Ashtabula64148
Athens5882
Lawrence58818
Auglaize5629
Shelby5619
Sandusky55420
Putnam53723
Huron5217
Union4832
Ottawa46430
Scioto4596
Seneca43514
Preble41813
Holmes3707
Muskingum3672
Jefferson3184
Henry29412
Logan2913
Champaign2873
Perry2849
Defiance27910
Clinton27813
Knox27815
Brown2732
Hardin24913
Morrow2472
Washington24623
Fulton2321
Coshocton23011
Jackson2284
Fayette2256
Ashland2224
Highland2203
Crawford2176
Wyandot20112
Williams1973
Gallia17912
Meigs1709
Hocking1599
Guernsey1557
Pike1530
Carroll1497
Adams1204
Van Wert1103
Monroe10618
Paulding1010
Harrison601
Morgan460
Vinton453
Noble260
Unassigned00
Fort Wayne
Clear
55° wxIcon
Hi: 70° Lo: 39°
Feels Like: 55°
Angola
Clear
52° wxIcon
Hi: 69° Lo: 41°
Feels Like: 52°
Huntington
Clear
53° wxIcon
Hi: 71° Lo: 41°
Feels Like: 53°
Decatur
Clear
52° wxIcon
Hi: 70° Lo: 40°
Feels Like: 52°
Van Wert
Clear
52° wxIcon
Hi: 70° Lo: 39°
Feels Like: 52°
Warming up for Monday
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events