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Published: Wednesday, March 07, 2018 @ 7:50 AM
Already past a deadline for action in Congress on a plan to deal with hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrant "Dreamers," President Donald Trump used a Washington, D.C. speech to urge a conference of Hispanic business owners to press for action on DACA and illegal immigration in general, blaming Democrats for the lack of an agreement.
"They don't want to solve the problem. They would rather use it to get elected," the President said.
In his speech to a gathering of the Latino Coalition Legislative Summit, Mr. Trump repeatedly said he's ready to reach a deal to help allow some younger illegal immigrants to stay in the United States, in exchange for tougher immigration enforcement measures.
"Go get DACA," the President said. "Go push those Democrats, I'm telling you. This is a moment for DACA - for all of us."
"The Democrats are nowhere to be found," Mr. Trump added to cheers, as he said Democrats had also stood in the way of immigration measures to strengthen the border, confront immigrant gangs and more.
"These reforms are supported by the vast majority of Latino voters," the President said. "Yet the Democrats filibustered our plan."
In Congress, Democrats dispute that notion, arguing that the President is asking for too many get-tough measures on immigration, as efforts at deal-making have been put on hold, while the federal courts deal with a legal challenge to the President's move to end the Obama Administration's DACA program.
"He has failed to agree to six different bipartisan proposals to solve the problem he created, and now these lives hang in the balance," said Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL).
"President Trump, the ball is in your court," Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY) added.
In his remarks, Mr. Trump said nothing about the new federal lawsuit filed by the Justice Department against the state of California over sanctuary cities.
In the state capital of Sacramento, Attorney General Jeff Sessions delivered a stern message to state officials.
"We have a problem," Sessions said of the refusal of some state and local officials to help track down illegal immigrants.
"I'm afraid this is an embarrassment to the proud state of California," Sessions added.
Sessions faced a barrage of criticism from California Democrats immediately.
"Jeff, these political stunts may be the norm in Washington, but they don't work here," said Gov. Jerry Brown.