US President Donald Trump said on Thursday his position on the border wall with Mexico has not changed, and that the latter country would pay for it "directly or indirectly".
He told the lawmakers he had persuaded Trump the wall was not necessary and that the president's opinion on the once-sacred barrier had "evolved".
"He has evolved in the way he's looked at things".
"There's been an evolutionary process that this president has gone through. and I pointed out to all the members that were in the room that they all say things during the course of campaigns that may or may not be fully informed", Kelly said.
Some lawmakers left the meeting with Kelly unsure of what President Trump wants to see in a deal to find a permanent legislative fix to DACA - the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals program begun as an executive action under President Obama but which President Trump has ordered ended.
As for the wall, Kelly said experts talked to Trump about how there "are places where, geographically, a wall would not be realistic".
"The Wall will be paid for, directly or indirectly, or through longer term reimbursement, by Mexico, which has a ridiculous $71 billion dollar trade surplus with the U.S. The $20 billion dollar Wall is "peanuts" compared to what Mexico makes from the U.S. NAFTA is a bad joke!" "Campaign to governing are two different things, and this president has been very, very flexible in terms of what's within the realm of the possible". "One thing is to campaign, another thing is to govern".
"The administration considers this one of its goals and I was very encouraged", Curbelo said.
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"If they are married, the wife would come in", he said.
For Trump to accept a deal, the senior aide said, it would have to include the full border wall funding and restrict companion visas to the spouses and minor children of work visa awardees. But not the parents, not the extended families.
"Trump's a wild card", Grijalva, the Arizona Democrat, said.
'It was bipartisan no doubt, ' Kelly said, 'but it was from a focus group of bipartisan senators'. "There are a lot of people trying to help out here". "There doesn't seem to be anything from the White House, and that is what is causing the chaos here among not just Congress but among all the GOP right now".
The White House had not returned WND's request for comment at the time of this report.
Rep. Ruben Gallego, D-Ariz., was in the meeting with Kelly on Wednesday and said there are multiple immigration bills in Congress, but the White House is causing confusion.
"That, combined with closing some of the loopholes, the draw if you will - because the average person that is coming to the US illegally, whether they come by visa and overstay, or sneak through the southwest, they understand that our really, really ineffective immigration laws, essentially allow them to stay indefinitely", Kelly told ABC News.