Democratic senate leader Chuck Schumer says wall is 'off the table' after shutdown

Chuck Schumer.
Chuck Schumer. Photo credit: Getty

Democrats in Washington have dealt a blow to Donald Trump's plan to build a huge wall between Mexico and the United States, reneging on a deal to fund the wall.

"The wall offer's off the table," Senator Chuck Schumer told White House reporters on Tuesday (local time).

Previously, the Democrats had offered to help fully fund the building of the wall, but officially went back on the deal on Sunday and publicly revealed the change of heart on Tuesday.

The change comes as negotiations over immigration reach fever pitch in Congress as bipartisan sparring grinds the government to a halt.

Senate majority leader and Republican Senator Mitch McConnell managed to end a 69-hour shut down by agreeing to what McConnell called "a fair and open" immigration debate in the senate.

Just when that debate will take place is unknown, but the stopgap funding measures put in place expire on February 8.

On that day, if the debate on young undocumented immigrants is not settled, the Senate will host open debate on all immigration.

The bulk of the debate centres on the place of "dreamers", undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children and offered protection from deportation.

An Obama-era law known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) provided the protection, but President Donald Trump ended the programme in March 2017.

Despite an original deadline of March 5 for a replacement to the law, no clear decision has been made on what to do next, and roughly 800,000 immigrants are now left in limbo.