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'Hostage-taking': Democrats reject Trump's offer to end shutdown

Donald Trump has offered to extend temporary protection for people brought to the US illegally as children in a bid to end the government shutdown.

The US president said he wanted to “break the logjam” but stuck to his demand for $ 5.7bn (£4.5bn) to fund his proposed wall on the US-Mexico border.

He offered to extend protection for “dreamer” immigrants – who entered the US illegally when they were young with their parents – for another three years, allowing them access to work permits.

Democrats were quick to reject the proposal, with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer calling it simply “more hostage-taking”.

There are about 700,000 “dreamers” who are currently protected from deportation under a programme that allows them to work but not get citizenship – a programme Mr Trump has been trying to rescind.

:: Fact check: Trump’s immigration speech

Donald Trump spoke at the White House on Saturday
Image: Donald Trump said he wanted to 'break the logjam'

The president is also offering to extend protections for immigrants who came to the US as a result of war or natural disasters in their home countries.

Speaking from the White House, Mr Trump said he was offering a “common sense compromise both parties should embrace”.

“I’m here today to break the logjam and provide Congress with a path forward to end the government shutdown and solve the crisis on the southern border,” he said.

Chuck Schumer branded Mr Trump's proposal 'hostage-taking'
Image: Chuck Schumer branded Mr Trump's proposal 'hostage-taking'

The president said the border wall would not be a concrete structure “from sea to shining sea” but rather “steel barriers in high-priority locations.”

His new proposal also includes £800m in humanitarian aid, £805m in funding for drug detection technology and an additional 2,750 border agents.

He added that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will bring his proposal for a vote in the Senate this week.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said: “[Mr Trump’s] proposal is a compilation of several previously rejected initiatives, each of which is unacceptable and in total, do not represent a good faith effort to restore certainty to people’s lives.

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“They are a non-starter.”

The shutdown, now in its fifth week, is the longest in US history and has left 800,000 federal workers unpaid.

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