President Donald Trump says he's close to a deal with Democratic congressional leaders on protections for illegal immigrants brought to the United States as children, astounding fellow Republicans again while alarming conservative supporters.
Trump met with top Democrats Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi at the White House on Wednesday evening, said on Thursday any final agreement must include significant steps to protect border security including surveillance systems.
The president added that funding for his planned wall along the US-Mexican border- would "come later" and not be part of any final deal on the fate of the 800,000 so-called Dreamers. But speaking to reporters, he said Democrats "cannot obstruct the wall".
Schumer and Pelosi reiterated their opposition to the wall, and Democrats in the past have promised to block funding for it.
Trump also said Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell were both "on board" with the potential deal.
McConnell and Ryan, both of whom have had a tense relationship with Trump, appeared to not be on board, as the president said.
The potential agreement was the latest development in the president's new found willingness to work with Democrats after Republicans, who control Congress, failed to deliver legislative victories on healthcare and other matters.
Trump rescinded the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program earlier this month, giving lawmakers six months to come up with an alternative for the Dreamers. DACA, created by Barack Obama, shields the Dreamers, mostly Hispanic young adults, from deportation and provides work permits.
Trump said "we're not looking at citizenship" for the Dreamers, a comment that differed with how Pelosi and Schumer described their understanding with the president.
Trump faced a quick backlash from his hard-line conservative political base.
Trump campaigned on an election promise to deport all of the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants and said Mexico would pay for a wall to stop the flow of illegal immigrants and drugs.
Breitbart News, the hard-line conservative news website headed by Trump's former top strategist, Steve Bannon, called the president "Amnesty Don" in a headline.
Conservative pundit Ann Coulter wrote on Twitter, "At this point, who DOESN'T want Trump impeached?"
Trump's hard-line conservative supporters had cheered his decision to rescind DACA, but have become increasingly uneasy with the businessman-turned-politician, in particular after he dismissed Bannon in August and began looking for common ground with Democrats.