Following talks over dinner at the White House, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said: “We agreed to enshrine the protections of DACA into law quickly, and to work out a package of border security, excluding the wall, that’s acceptable to both sides.”
Democrats have repeatedly said that they will block any legislation that contains funding for the border wall – a key campaign pledge of President Trump’s.
A White House statement was more muted, simply saying that there had been a “constructive working dinner” where tax reform, border security and DACA had been discussed.
White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders later disputed the Democrats’ account.
She tweeted: “While DACA and border security were both discussed, excluding the wall was certainly not agreed to.”
Chuck Schumer’s aide replied: “The President made clear he would continue pushing the wall, just not as part of this agreement.”
Republican support would be needed in any immigration legislation, as they have a majority in both the House and the Senate.
Paul Ryan is one of a growing number of Republican lawmakers and business leaders to speak out against scrapping the program.
While campaigning for office, Donald Trump took a hard-line on immigration and said he planned to “immediately terminate” the DACA program.
However, since then Donald Trump has said he finds the subject “very, very tough”.
The president said he intends to show “great heart” in dealing with what he described as, in many cases, “incredible kids”.
The decision to give Congress six months to draft an alternative is seen as a compromise after Republican lawmakers and business leaders from companies including Google, General Motors and Microsoft urged President Trump to retain the program.
On September 3, former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton tweeted: “Thanks to Dreamers’ courage & resolve, #DACA has allowed thousands of young people to contribute to our society. We’re better for it.”
Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a Cuban-American Republican Representative from Florida, also took to Twitter to vent her frustration, saying: “After teasing #Dreamers for months with talk of his <<great heart>>, @POTUS slams door on them. Some <<heart>>.”
The DACA program protects roughly 750,000 people in the US from deportation and provides temporary permits for work and study.
In order to qualify for DACA, applicants under the age of 30 submit personal information to the Department of Homeland Security.
They must go through an FBI background check and have a clean criminal background, and either be in school, recently graduated or have been honorably discharged from the military.
In exchange, the US government agrees to “defer” any action on their immigration status for a period of two years.
The majority of so-called Dreamer immigrants in the US are from Mexico and other Latin American countries.