President Trump Offers Immigration Compromise to End Government Shutdown

 President Donald Trump speaks about the partial government shutdown, immigration and border security in the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House in Washington on Saturday, Jan. 19. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
President Donald Trump speaks about the partial government shutdown, immigration and border security in the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House in Washington on Saturday, Jan. 19. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

President Donald Trump, in a televised White House address on Saturday, offered Democrats a compromise package on immigration in an effort to end the nearly month-long partial government shutdown -- although Democrats dismissed the olive branch as a "non-starter" before Trump even spoke.

Trump said 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, in exchange for the $5.7 billion he has requested for a wall on the southern border. The 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," Trump said, urging politicians to "take off their armor" and find solutions.

It would also offer $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 the backlog of asylum requests. He said that all his measures have been supported by Democrats before.

"If we are successful in this effort, we will have the best chance in a longtime at 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 partial government shutdown, which has dragged on for almost a month and led to 800,000 federal workers not being paid, is the result of Republicans and Democrats being unable to come to an agreement over Trump's demand for wall funding. Trump has said he will not sign a bill to open the government unless it includes that funding, while Democrats have refused to consider the $5.7 figure, offering approximately $1.3 billion for general border security.

Trump's move marks a rare outreach in a week where both sides appear to have hardened in their positions, with Trump canceling a Democratic delegation's military flight to Afghanistan after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called on him to delay his State of the Union address earlier in the week. On Saturday, Trump described Pelosi as being "controlled by the radical left."

Trump's proposal was quickly swatted down by Democrats with Pelosi coming out ahead of the announcement and saying that reports of the proposal indicated a "compilation of several previously rejected initiatives, each of which is unacceptable and in total, do not represent a good faith effort to restore certainty to people's lives."

"It is unlikely that any one of these provisions alone would pass the House, and taken together, they are a non-starter," she said in a statement. "For one thing, this proposal does not include the permanent solution for the Dreamers and TPS recipients that our country needs and supports."

Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin, D-Ill., also rejected it ahead of the announcement.

"First, President Trump and Senate Majority Leader [Mitch] McConnell must open the government today. Second, I cannot support the proposed offer as reported and do not believe it can pass the Senate. Third, I am ready to sit down at any time after the government is opened and work to resolve all outstanding issues," he said in a statement.

Pelosi said that Democrats intended to pass six bills next week and other legislation to open the government, "so that we can fully negotiate on border security proposals."

"The President must sign these bills to re-open government immediately and stop holding the American people hostage with this senseless shutdown. Each day he prolongs this needless crisis, Coast Guardsmen, FBI agents, border patrol officers, TSA agents, and hundreds of thousands more workers are forced to live without knowing how they can feed their families or pay their bills," she said in her statement.

Fox News' John Roberts, Chad Pergram and Jason Donner contributed to this report.

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