On Sunday, the Trump Administration submitted a 70-point immigration enforcement plan to Congress.
The document, which aims to close the loopholes that illegal immigrants have been using to gain a foothold in the US, outlines some of the most severe reforms ever proposed by an administration.
Among the proposals are objectives that Trump has been pursuing since he first announced his presidential bid:
• A border wall
• More deportation agents
• A crackdown on sanctuary cities
• Strict limits on chain migration
Some of the “loopholes” that must be closed include:
• Visitors overstaying legal visas
• Lax asylum standards
• The ability of federal, state, and local cops to detain illegal aliens
The list also calls to establish a “refugee ceiling” and to give ICE more power to deny immigrants at the border, to arrest and detain them when caught inside the country, and to deport them more efficiently.
The ultimate goal here is to enact major changes to border security and interior enforcement as well as the legal immigration system.
“If you don’t solve these problems then you’re not going to have a secure border, you’re not going to have a lawful immigration system, and you’re not going to be able to protect American workers,” said a senior White House official.
In building the list, the Trump Administration considered input from the State, Justice, and Labor Departments as well as the three main immigration agencies at Homeland Security.
Many items on the list have drawn bipartisan support in the past, such as canceling the visa lottery, requiring businesses to use E-Verify (a system that checks work eligibility for new-hires), and increasing the number of Border Patrol agents.
“The Trump Administration has put forth a serious proposal to address the enforcement of our immigration laws and border security,” said Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA). “We cannot fix the DACA problem without fixing all of the issues that led to the underlying problem of illegal immigration in the first place.”
Immigrant-rights advocates have reacted to the list with fear, anger, and concern.
“Please do not put the burden on the Dreamers to accept every aspect of comprehensive immigration reform to get a chance to become citizens of the United States,” said Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL). “That’s too much to ask.”
In a statement released alongside the proposal, President Trump announced that his list of reforms “must be included as part of any legislation addressing the status of DACA recipients. Without these reforms, illegal immigration and chain migration, which severely and unfairly burden American workers and taxpayers, will continue without end.”
The announcement is sure to infuriate Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, who after a meeting with Trump last month insisted they had crafted legislation that would give Dreamers a pathway to citizenship in exchange for certain border security improvements.
“This plan will work,” said AG Jeff Sessions. “If followed it will produce an immigration system with integrity and one in which we can take pride. Perhaps the best result will be that unlawful attempts to enter will continue their dramatic decline.”
Editor's note: Trump is well on his way to keeping another campaign promise.