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Boston Mayor: 'Deep Down' Trump is 'Very Pro-Immigrant'

boston mayor marty walsh on st patrick's day

WASHINGTON – Democratic Boston Mayor Marty Walsh told PJM that he thinks President Trump is “very pro-immigrant” and supportive of DREAMers “deep down inside of him” but that he’s “trying to placate his base” with tough rhetoric on illegal immigration.

Walsh was asked for his reaction to Trump offering a path to citizenship for 1.8 million DREAMers, which includes the roughly 800,000 current Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals beneficiaries, as part of negotiations with Democrats over the federal budget. The short-term budget Congress recently passed expires Thursday.

“I think there’s 800,000 in DACA. I don’t know enough about it. I mean, I honestly don't think President Trump is against DACA. I don't think he is, so I think he understands and realizes the importance of DACA. I think he understands and realizes the importance of the immigrants that are here working in our workforce; they’re in our schools, they're fighting in our military,” Walsh, the son of Irish immigrants, said during an interview at the recent U.S. Conference of Mayors Winter Meeting.

“I think he understands the importance of that. And I actually don't think President Trump is against immigrants either. I think he says it, but I don't think he is. I think he's playing to his base and I think really deep down inside of him I don't think he's against immigrants at all. I think he’s supportive of immigrants,” he added.

Walsh was asked if he thinks Trump will work with Democrats to offer a path to citizenship to undocumented immigrants beyond DACA recipients and DREAMers.

“I don't know – we'll see what happens. I mean, I think if his base confronts him on it and they don't want it he might buckle, but I think I honestly don't think all this talk of immigration, deep inside of me, I don't feel he thinks that way. I think he's very pro-immigrant,” he said. “I think he made that statement a couple times during the campaign. But I think he's trying to placate his base because he doesn't want to disappoint his base. So we'll see what happens.”

PJM asked Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) if he would support protections for only the 800,000 current DACA beneficiaries as opposed to expanding legal status further. He replied that the issue is negotiable and all part of the negotiations with the White House.

“What are you going to be pushing for the in the negotiations?” PJM asked Flake.

“Those are part of the negotiations,” the senator responded. “I mean, obviously the smallest would be the current DACA population. We all know that there are people eligible who aren’t in it and that will be part of the negotiations. If more is given there, then there will be more on the other side in terms of border security and those things. It’s part of the negotiations.”