The White House on Thursday announced a preview of Trump’s new immigration plan, which includes tighter restrictions on legal immigration, $25 billion in border security, and a pathway to citizenship for 1.8 million illegal immigrants who came to the US as children.
The citizenship opportunity applies to nearly 700,000 DACA recipients as well as the hundreds of thousands of young illegals that qualified for DACA but never applied. Lawmakers say the opportunity would not include Dreamers’ parents.
The Trump Administration ended DACA last September, setting a March 5th deadline for Congress to come up with a legislative solution. Congress has been locked in a stalemate ever since, with Democrats’ insistence on protections for DACA recipients leading to a government shutdown earlier this month.
Trump’s citizenship offer, which contradicts statements he made last year, could be enough to get the proposal through Congress. But Democrats will have to swallow Trump’s demands, including an end to the visa lottery and a serious restriction on chain migration.
“Immigrants would only be allowed to sponsor their spouses and underage children to join them in the US, and not their parents, adult children, or siblings,” reports Newsmax. This move alone could cut legal immigration by up to 50%.
Perhaps the most contentious part of the plan is the closing of several ‘legal loopholes’ that would allow the feds to deport more immigrants.
The path to citizenship would occur over a time period of 10 to 12 years that includes “requirements for work, education, and good moral character.”
Trump has promised not to sign any DACA legislation that fails to include his proposed changes.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) says Thursday’s release will steer Senators (previously unclear on what exactly Trump wanted) in the right direction.
“I am hopeful that as discussions continue in the Senate on the subject of immigration, members on both sides of the aisle will look to this framework for guidance as they work towards an agreement,” said McConnell.
“We’re grateful for the president showing leadership on this issue and believe his ideas will help us ultimately reach a balanced solution,” added Dough Andres, a spokesman for House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI).
Rep. Tom Cotton (R-AR), an immigration hardliner, called the plan “generous and humane, while also being responsible.” In addition to protecting Dreamers, the plan “will prevent us from ending up back here in five years by securing the border and putting an end to extended-family chain migration.”
Some Republicans aren’t willing to offer citizenship to Dreamers, even in exchange for additional border security. “DACA itself didn’t have a pathway to citizenship,” argues Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX). “So I think it would be a profound mistake and not consistent with the promises we made to the voters to enact a pathway to citizenship to DACA recipients or to others who are here illegally.”
Democrats and immigration activists complain Trump is using Dreamers as bargaining chips. ACLU spokeswoman Lorella Praeli called it a “hateful” and “xenophobic” proposal that will “slash legal immigration to levels not seen since the racial quotas of the 1920’s.”
United We Dream Advocacy Director Greisa Martinez Rosas called the plan a “white supremacist ransom note.”
Author’s Note: Trump’s proposal is a serious concession on his part, and the Dems should take advantage before time runs out and Dreamers are at the mercy of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
If the border wall is built, there is no reason not to be compassionate to the illegals who are already here. This is a major policy statement for Trump, and it may very well be the issue that gets Hispanic voters onto the Republican side.
Editor’s note: Note that Trump just blew Schumer out of the water by upping the number of people affected. Where does Chuck go from here? He has quite the problem now.