President Trump to Latino conference: Democrats 'nowhere to be found' on DACA

PHOTO: President Donald Trump speaks at the Latino Coalition Legislative Summit at a hotel in Washington, March 7, 2018. PlayMandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images
WATCH President Trump to Latino conference: Democrats 'nowhere to be found' on DACA

In remarks to the Latino Coalition Legislative Summit on Wednesday, President Donald Trump slammed Democrats for the current uncertainty over the future of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

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"We are trying to have a DACA victory for everybody," Trump said. "And the Democrats are nowhere to be found. They are nowhere to be found."

President Trump in September of last year announced the end of the DACA program that provided legal status to nearly 700,000 undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children but has looked to shift blame to Democrats as Congress has failed to act to extend permanent protections.

"It's really terrible," Trump said. "We are ready. The expression ready, willing, and able. They are nowhere to be found."

President Trump's appearance at the summit comes just two days after lawmakers let a March 5 deadline pass for a solution preventing DACA recipients from facing deportation, though two separate federal court injunctions effectively rendered the deadline meaningless by ordering the Department of Justice to maintain the program.

Democrats have denounced the White House for leveraging legal status for DACA recipients with demands to roll back legal immigration to the U.S. and billions in funds for the president's border wall.

Trump set his sights specifically on Senate Democrats for “[filibustering] our plan because they do not care about the immigration system or reform, and they do not want to solve the problem. They would rather use it to get elected.”

But Trump failed to mention that the White House’s immigration plan only wound up receiving 39 votes when it was considered in the Senate, after being rejected by several Republicans.

The Latino Coalition describes itself as a network that addresses "issues directly impacting Hispanic business owners & consumers across the U.S.A." This week's summit features an array of conservative voices and members of the Trump administration, including Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, Labor Secretary Alex Acosta and Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao.

But when it comes to immigration policy the coalition's positions differ significantly from the hot-button issues that President Trump is often most vocal on, including his call for a physical wall along the U.S.-Mexico border and demands for reducing legal immigration.

"Go get DACA," said in his remarks. "Go push those Democrats. I'm telling you, slowing us down."

The coalition's website also notes a rejection of 'protectionist' trade policy, even as President Trump is expected to officially announce controversial new tariffs on steel and aluminum before the end of this week.

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