Trump open to path to citizenship to dreamers, seeks $25 bn

by Garry Watts January 27, 2018, 10:07
Trump open to path to citizenship to dreamers, seeks $25 bn

President Donald Trump will support a path to citizenship for as many as 1.8 million undocumented immigrants brought into the U.S.as children, doubling the number of people covered by current protections from deportation, White House officials said Thursday.

The program now protects about 700,000 people, mostly Hispanic young adults, from deportation and provides them work permits. But the plan comes with significant strings attached to appeal to Republicans.

The term "Dreamers", which is used for the undocumented immigrants living in the U.S. illegally, came from the DREAM Act, a bipartisan legislation that was first proposed in 2001 to provide citizenship to them under certain conditions. He also said that his plan would include a request for $5 billion for additional security measures along the border.

The two sides had appeared to be making progress early last week, after a meeting at the White House on Tuesday saw lawmakers emerge to say they'd agreed on four principles for any bill: legal status for Dreamers, more border security, limits to the chain of family migration an end to the Diversity Visa Lottery, which doles out immigration passes based on pure chance.

The official was not authorized to speak publicly on the issue and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Early reaction from Republicans in the Senate - where the plan may receive a vote in early February - was positive.

"The president's framework is generous and humane, while also being responsible", Sen.

That includes the almost 700,000 immigrants who received protection from deportation and work permits under the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.

Trump so far has rejected bipartisan proposals to continue DACA, leading to the standoff between Republicans and Democrats in the Senate that resulted in a three-day government shutdown that ended on Monday. Republicans want vast curtailment of legal immigration, Democrats want to discuss a pathway to citizenship for the 11 million. Democrats said they were heartened Thursday by Trump's support, while Republicans were more cautious.

"If there is no wall, there is no DACA", Mr. Trump said. Without Miller there, a bad DACA deal would be law and there would never be a wall or any sensible changes to American immigration policy.

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Immigrants would no longer be able to sponsor their parents, siblings or adult children to join them in the U.S. Sponsorship would be limited to spouses and minor children, dramatically limiting immigration categories.

"President Trump shouldn't invite us to the White House for a meeting on infrastructure and three hours before issue the equivalent of what are arrest warrants for standing up for what we believe in and, by the way, what America believes in", said Mayor Rahm Emanuel of Chicago.

Trump said the process to achieve citizenship, which he said "gives incentive to do a great job", should take between 10-12 years. Legal status could be revoked in the event of criminal conduct, public safety or national security concerns, fraud, or if the person becomes financially dependent on the government. They are now frequently referred to as illegal or unlawful immigrants despite the fact that they entered the nation through no fault of their own. Another key Democratic aide complained Schumer attempted to meet the President more than halfway, essentially offering to pay for Trump's signature campaign promise in exchange for protecting the Dreamers.

That proposal immediately provoked the ire of Democrats, who have been battling Republicans and Trump for weeks over immigration.

Democrats could also resist it.

A White House official told the PBS NewsHour on Thursday that the administration, which had planned to release the plan Monday, made a decision to provide the details earlier then first intended because lawmakers asked for the information.

The path to citizenship would take 10 to 12 years and would include requirements for work, education and "good moral character".

"If the president is open (to the citizenry) that would be a very good thing, because it's something that has common sense: if you're a Dreamer, if you entered the United States as a child, there's no reason why they do not have legal status".

For the Democratic Party, they hope to extend and improve the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) to allow illegal immigrants who were brought to the United States as children the ability to stay in the country.


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