Trump discusses immigration ideas in dinner with Republican lawmakers

U.S. President Donald Trump arrives to deliver a statement on the mass shooting in Las Vegas from the Diplomatic Room at the White House in Washington, U.S., October 2, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Donald Trump is discussing border security and other measures that the White House wants to see included in an immigration bill during a dinner with Republican lawmakers on Monday, an administration official said.

Legal authority to close border security “loopholes” and other immigration reform measures were on the agenda for the dinner between Trump and House of Representatives Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, the official said.

Other attendees included Senator John Cornyn, the No. 2 Senate Republican, and Senators Tom Cotton of Arkansas and David Perdue of Georgia.

The White House dinner could influence the broad principles on immigration reform that Trump’s team is planning to release in the future, the official said.

Trump and other top administration officials have urged conservative Republicans in Congress to craft legislation protecting “Dreamers” brought illegally to the United States as children.

Trump held a similar dinner with the top Democrats in Congress, Senator Chuck Schumer and Representative Nancy Pelosi, last month to discuss legislation that would shield from deportation the roughly 800,000 young immigrants known as Dreamers.

The White House is eager to involve Republicans in the process so as not to alienate Trump’s political base.

The Republican president has taken a hard line on immigration both as a presidential candidate and since entering office in January. But he has sought a legislative solution to help the young immigrants after ending a program started under former Democratic President Barack Obama that allowed the Dreamers to remain in the country.

Reporting by Jeff Mason; Editing by Peter Cooney