President Donald Trump, speaking at Camp David Saturday, where he was also talking immigration reform, said reform can't happen without a constructing a wall between the U.S. and Mexico.
U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez, a champion of immigration, spoke Saturday after the president made the remarks, asking Congressional Democrats to fight for immigration.
Trump, through a request by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, is seeking $18 billion over the next decade to build or reinforce more than 700 miles of fencing along the U.S.-Mexico border.
“Democrats have to hold the line,” Gutierrez said, addressing reporters.
Gutierrez was weighing in on a decision that could leave hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants, known as ‘Dreamers,’ without federal protection against deportation.
“It's really a fight not only for ‘Dreamers’ today but for a real sense of fairness in the United States of America,” Gutierrez said.
Congressional Democrats want to use budget negotiations and what could be a resulting government shutdown as a tool to force Trump to make a deal on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, known as DACA, while allowing only moderate new immigration enforcement measures.
"We want the wall... The wall's going to happen or we're not going to have DACA. We want to get rid of chain migration ... Very important. And we want to get rid of the lottery system,” Trump said.
And at a community forum where DACA and immigration were the topics of discussion, Gutierrez’s handpicked successor, as he steps down from Congress, Cook County Commissioner Jesus "Chuy" Garcia, re-iterated his desire to see Congress pass legislation to shield DACA recipients, known as ‘Dreamers.’
“We must continue to be a nation that welcomes immigrants … that shows compassion is still something that is a sacred virtue,” Garcia said.
The DACA program expires in March.
If Congress does not act by then, recipients of the program could lose benefits and face possible deportation.