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President Donald Trump speaks to the Major County Sheriffs' Association and Major Cities Chiefs Association, Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2017, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Trump is on his way to an immigration deal, but not until both sides in Congress get what they want


There hasn't been much bipartisan cooperation in the first year of the Trump administration, but a deal on immigration that protects the status of those protected by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) might be in the works.

But like everything in Washington, not before both sides get what they want.

Trump's primary focus for immigration has been on border security, specifically his promised wall on the border with Mexico. Democrats are laser-focused on ensuring that DACA recipients maintain some kind of legal status after the Obama-era ruling is set to expire on March 5. Trump has at least seemed open to the idea of giving the so-called Dreamers some kind of protection, but not before his wall is funded.

"It's got to include the wall," Trump told reporters in a press briefing earlier this week. "We need the wall for security, we need the wall for safety, we need the wall for stopping the drugs from pouring in."

Immigration hawks in the Republican party have also made it clear that DACA will be a non-starter if border security isn't properly funded.

"I believe there is more money needed to have a border wall that will be effective at combating illegal border crossings and that will be absolutely essential before conservatives in the House will ever entertain a deal on DACA," Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) told Circa in an interview on Wednesday.

Democrats, for their part, seem to be willing to give Trump and the Republicans border security funding if they play ball on DACA.

"I'm ready. I have been reluctant, but I am ready and my Democratic colleagues know," Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL), told CNN's Jake Tapper in an interview.

But Gutierrez noted a final agreement has been stifled by what he claims are continued demands from the Republican side.

"There are Democrats and Republicans working and they have a deal for more border security," said Gutierrez. "But they they change the goal posts and they say: "No, no, no there's more ransom. We want to take family reunification.'"

Family reunification, also called "chain migration" by some, is the process in which a legal immigrant can act as a sponsor to bring their family members to the U.S. The theory behind the policy is that immigrants will be better off when supported by their families, but it became an issue for Trump and company after it was discovered that Akayed Ullah, a Bangladeshi immigrant who set off a pipe bomb in New York City in December, was in the U.S. on a family visa. The Department of Homeland Security blamed chain migration for allowing Ahmed Amin el-Mofty, an Egyptian immigrant who shot at police officers in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania in late December, into the country.

Trump and other GOP members aim to replace the so-called chain migration and the visa lottery system with one that focuses more on skills.

A group of six senators, including Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-SC) and Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), has come up with an agreement that would provide for border security and DACA protections.

"President Trump called on Congress to solve the DACA challenge," said the group in a statement. "We have been working for four months and have reached an agreement in principle that addresses border security, the diversity visa lottery, chain migration/family reunification, and the Dream Act -- the areas outlined by the President. We are now working to build support for that deal in Congress."

The agreement does not appear to have support of leadership and the President, yet.

Congress has until March 5 to come up with a solution before Trump's deadline on DACA expires.

Circa's Kellan Howell contributed to this report.

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