President Donald Trump has said that the programme protecting immigrants brought to the US illegally as children is "probably dead" as he blamed Democrats for hindering talks over a potential immigration deal that Congress must pass to avoid a government shutdown.
Trump's remarks follow an intense week of negotiations on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) programme that prevents hundreds of thousands of individuals, known as "Dreamers," from deportation.
The Obama-era scheme protects some 800,000 people. It also provides temporary permits for work and study.
Trump wants to include in the deal money for a US-Mexico wall for border security and changes to the lottery and so- called "chain migration".
Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 14, 2018"I, as President, want people coming into our Country who are going to help us become strong and great again, people coming in through a system based on MERIT. No more Lotteries!"
Trump's tweets came just hours after his administration resumed receiving renewal applications for "Dreamers" under the DACA programme following a federal court order blocking the administration from ending the program.
Trump, who has taken a hard stance against illegal immigration, announced last year that he will end the program unless Congress comes up with a solution by March.
The president and Congress are attempting to reach a deal on comprehensive immigration reform as part of a federal spending bill that Congress must pass by Friday to avoid a government shutdown.
After last week's White House meeting, a bipartisan group of senators submitted a plan to the White House that seemed agreeable to Trump -- considering it reportedly included USD 1.6 billion for his border wall.
However, the White House had rejected the deal, arguing it did not go far enough to curtail the chain migration, which allows green card holders to bring family members into the United States.
"We are ready willing and able to make a deal on DACA, but I don't think the Democrats want to make a deal. The folks from DACA should know the Democrats are the ones that aren't going to make a deal," Trump told reporters in Florida when entering Trump International Golf Course for a dinner with House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy.
Responding to a series of questions, Trump said "honestly" Democrats do not want to make a deal.
"I think they talk about DACA, but they don't want to help the DACA people, the DACA children," he said.
Trump acknowledged that there are a lot of sticking points on the current negotiations on immigration.
But they are all Democrat sticking points, he alleged.
"Because we are ready willing and able to make a deal, but they don't want to. They don't want security at the border, there are people pouring in. They don't want security at the border, they don't want to stop the drugs.
"And they want to take money away from our military which we will not do," Trump said.
The US President is spending this long-weekend at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida.