White House outlines new immigration proposal
During the few days of the government shutdown, Republicans and Democrats agreed to open the government in exchange for allowing for an open discussion on a new proposal for permanently protecting people in the expiring Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. A few days later, it was made public that President Trump has outlined a proposal for protecting ‘Dreamers’. A one-page memo was sent out to congressional Republicans that details a 10-12 year path to citizenship for the 700,000 enrolled in the DACA program, as well as other “DACA-eligible illegal immigrants. This includes those who currently illegally reside in the US as they were brought to the country as children. As of now, the White House estimates this bill could cover up to 1.8 million people.
In exchange for this proposal, the White House is asking for the long soughtafter immigration security measure. This would include $25 billion for a border wall, though it won’t be like the one Trump promised during his campaign rallies. In the memo, it specifies that border security “takes a combination of physical infrastructure, technology, personnel, and resources.” Not exactly like the physical structure that President Trump wanted constructed on the southern border of the country, but an addition to the current security of our borders nonetheless.
The White House also wants several changes to the legal immigration system. This would include changing policies that would allow for the prioritization of family members “to spouses and minor children only.” These changes hope to combat entire families who wish to immigrate to the US, which the White House believes causes for backup and slowed speeds of our nation’s immigration system. The White House also wants to completely eliminate the visa lottery system, which was stated in the memo as being “…riddled with fraud and abuse and does not serve the national interest.”
The proposal is expected to be met with opposition from both sides. Some senior White House officials are calling the outline a “bipartisan compromise position” but many Democratic lawmakers have rejected the offer, saying the DACA fix is a disguise for overhauling the country’s immigration system.
Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham of New Mexico, said “The White House is using Dreamers to mask their underlying xenophobic, isolationist, and un-American policies, which will harm millions of immigrants living in the United States and millions of others who want to legally immigrate and contribute to our country.”
Rep Luis Guiterrez of Illinois also voiced his disapproval of the proposal on Twitter, saying, “$25 billion as ransom for Dreamers with cuts to legal immigration and increases to deportations doesn’t pass the laugh test.”
California’s own Sen. Dianne Feinstein said, “The take or leave it proposal put out by the White House will not make our country safer and will only serve to encourage illegal immigration because families will not be able to lawfully reunite.”
On the other side of the political spectrum, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky offered praise for the outline, but said the bill is still being fine tuned, so changes are expected. He told reporters, “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.” The outcome of this proposal is sure to be hotly debated in the coming weeks and months, with many waiting anxiously to see how it all plays out.