Democratic Rep. Jackie Speier (Calif.) said Thursday that she would vote to fund a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border as part of an immigration deal in exchange for a measure providing legal protections to immigrants who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children.
"I want to protect these 800,000 DACA kids," Speier said on MSNBC, referring to those immigrants protected under the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which the Trump administration rescinded last year. President Donald Trump said this week that he would sign a bill from Congress that enshrines DACA into U.S. law, as long as the legislation includes funding for a border wall.
"I'm willing to go mid-way with the president and the Republicans to fund higher walls along our border, more border security, enhanced measures, but I really feel very strongly that our DACA kids need to be protected," Speier said.
She then referenced a college student she knows who wants to be a professor and was brought to the U.S. when he was seven, arguing that "he has every right to be here and become an American citizen."
MSNBC host Craig Melvin then asked Speier to clarify her position.
"To be clear, I just want to clarify, you are OK with giving the president his wall in exchange for DACA?" Melvin asked.
"I would be willing to give the president a high-tech wall, and I would even be willing to give him some amount of money to build his wall to a certain degree," Speier responded. "But, frankly, it's money thrown away. I want to protect these kids, and I will do everything I can to make sure they're protected."