Trump Favors Eventual Citizenship for Dreamers: 'We're Going to Morph Into It'

By Susan Jones | January 25, 2018 | 5:59am EST
President Trump speaks to a gathering of mayors on Jan. 24, 2018. (Photo: Screen grab/C-SPAN)

( - President Trump, in an impromptu meeting with reporters in his chief of staff's office on Wednesday, said he's open to the prospect of citizenship for dreamers -- if they work hard in the meantime.

He also indicated he might consider extending the March 5 expiration of DACA; and he held out for his long-promised border wall.

Trump made the comments before departing for Davos, Switzerland:

"We're going to morph into it, it's going to happen at some point," he told reporters in Gen. John Kelly's office, when a reporter asked if he was open to citizenship for dreamers:

"Over a period of 10 to 12 years, somebody does a great job, they've worked hard--it gives incentive to do a great job. But they've worked hard, they've done terrifically, whether they have a little company or whether they've worked or whatever they're doing, if they do a great job, I think it's a nice thing to have the incentive of, after a period of years, being able to become a citizen."

Trump said he thinks DACA is a better issue for Republicans than it is for Democrats, and he believes he'll be able to strike a deal on it.

"And then after we do DACA, we'll take a look at the even bigger immigration problem," the president said.

A reporter asked Trump if he will extend the deadline if a DACA bill doesn't pass by March 5:

"Yeah, I might do that," he said. I'm not guaranteeing it," he added.

The president also said dreamers should not worry about being deported when DACA ends on March 5:

"Tell them not to be concerned, okay?" the president said. "Tell them not to worry about it. We're going to solve the problem. Now it's up to the Democrats, but they should not be concerned."

He also repeated that there will be no DACA deal without a wall.

The president once again advocated a "good, strong, family" system of chain migration; a replacement for the diversity visa lottery system, which means bringing people into the country based on merit instead of lottery.

And Trump said he wants $25 billion for his wall, which he promised to deliver "under budget." He said a wall will be a "great return on investment," given the hundreds of billions now spent on immigration-related issues.

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