WASHINGTON D.C. (HawaiiNewsNow) - Members of Congress and the president met Tuesday in hopes of nailing down a bipartisan deal on immigration.
In the meeting, which included U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, the president suggested that the immigration agreement could be reached in two phases — first by addressing young immigrants and border security with what he called a "bill of love," then by making comprehensive changes that have long eluded Congress.
Trump presided over the lengthy meeting with Republican and Democratic lawmakers seeking a solution for hundreds of thousands of young people who were brought to the U.S. as children and living here illegally.
Trump last year ended the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which shielded more than 700,000 people from deportation and gave them the right to work legally. He gave Congress until March to find a fix.
At the meeting, Hirono sought clarification from the president.
"You want $18 billion for a wall or else there will be no DACA. Is that still your position," Hirono asked.
Trump replied, "Yeah, I can build it for less."
After the meeting, only a portion of which was open to the media, Hirono said she remains optimistic on a solution for the so-called "dreamers," but is worried about what the final agreement will look like.
"What I got from that is that we're no longer talking about a 2,000 miles and that we're talking about maybe a 700-mile some kind of barrier," she said. "But the bottom line is there are a lot of people who have thought about this and a wall, a border wall, would not be terribly effective, so in my view that would be a waste of money."
Hirono added, "I wish he had said 'we should just deal with DACA and let's just resolve that issue for 800,000 people.' Unfortunately, that's just not where he's at and considering that just a couple of days ago he said 'it's $18 billion for a wall or there's no DACA,' today was a different kind of posture and I'm not quite sure what he might say tomorrow."
This story will be updated.