Washington: US President Donald Trump said on Thursday that he was looking to allow people to stay here, but not ready for citizenship or amnesty, an announcement that may benefit 800,000 young immigrants, including those from India.
Trump's statement came a day after top Democratic lawmakers Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi claimed that they had reached a deal with the president to protect about 800,000 young immigrants who came to America illegally as children and were given protection by the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
Trump had scrapped the DACA program earlier this month.
"We are not looking at citizenship. We are not looking at amnesty. We are looking at allowing people to stay here," Trump told reporters.
Trump said he is very close to a deal on DACA.
"I just spoke with Paul Ryan, everybody's on board... We are talking about taking care of people, people who were brought here, people who have done a good job. We will only do it if we get extreme security, not only surveillance but everything that goes with surveillance. If there is not a wall, we are doing nothing," he said.
In a statement after dinner with Trump at the White House, Schumer and Pelosi said that they have reached a deal with him on DACA.
"We had a very productive meeting at the White House with the president. The discussion focused on DACA. We agreed to enshrine the protections of DACA into law quickly and to work out a package of border security, excluding the wall, that is acceptable to both sides," Schumer and Pelosi said.
In a tweet early this morning, Trump, however, said that no deal has been reached.
"No deal was made last night on DACA. Massive border security would have to be agreed to in exchange for consent. Would be subject to vote," he said, refuting claims being made by the Democratic leaders.
Pelosi tended to disagree at a news conference at the Capitol Hill.
"I do believe that there is an understanding that down the road, there is an eventual path to citizenship in the DREAM Act and that overwhelmingly, the American people support that," she said.
"In a poll today, over 50 per cent, and then, you know, 12 per cent want to send them back, and then others somewhere in the middle. But it came up in the context of the suggestion that there might be other bills to be considered, and that did not last long," Pelosi said.
The atmosphere during the White House dinner last night, she said, was very friendly.