The White House released January 25 its proposal for immigration legislation for an estimated 1.8 million undocumented immigrants which included children of DACA recipients. The framework which included provisions for a possible citizenship along with stricter conditions for securing the border to reduce incidents of illegal immigration was met with sharp criticism from both Democrats and Republicans.
DACA stands for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals which was an accommodation extended by the Obama administration for young children who came to the United States as unprotected immigrants.
In Trump’s proposal, protections would be extended to an estimated population of 1.8 million individuals including those who previously qualified but did not apply. The proposal also included a possible pathway for the undocumented immigrants to acquire citizenship.
This particular provision irked many strong oppositionist groups to illegal immigration such as NumbersUSA, a lobbying organization that supports a reduction in legal and illegal immigration. NumbersUSA President Roy Beck referred to Trump’s proposal as “mass amnesty” for the millions of undocumented immigrants:
“Under the White House framework, young-adult illegal border crossers and visa over-stayers would get immediate benefits including, most importantly, the right to compete with Americans in the permanent job market.
“But vulnerable American workers would get little or no relief from the competition of chain migration for 15 to 20 years. Even if new applications for chain migration categories are stopped immediately, the framework would allow chain migration to continue for decades by allowing all of the 4 million foreigners in the waiting list to continue coming.”
The conservative website, Breibart which is often referred to as the voice of the Trump administration expressed its disappointment by labelling Trump as “Amnesty Don”.
On the other side, the Democrats were critical of the administration’s proposal to eliminate the diversity visa lottery and its plan to limit family unification visas to spouses and minor children only and not extended family members.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi described the White House proposal as “anti-immigrant” and “an act of staggering cowardice”. Pelosi remarked that the proposal came after Trump ended the Temporary Protected Status programs for Central Americans and Haitians:
“They are part of the Trump’s administration’s unmistakable campaign to make America white again.”
Trump’s proposal included a provision for a $25 Billion trust fund for the construction of the border wall and other security measures. The construction of a wall was a crucial but likewise contentious centrepiece during Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.
The White House recommended appropriating additional funds to shore up personnel at the Department of Homeland Security and the Immigration and Customs Enforcement.