Trump to seek $25 bln for border wall, open to 'Dreamer' citizenship

27 January, 2018, 10:08 | Author: Essie Rivera
  • Sen. Doug Jones D-Ala. left and Sen. Richard C. Shelby R-Ala. joined by Sen. John Kennedy R-La. right leave the Capitol following final votes for the week in Washington Thursday Jan. 25 2018

President Donald Trump will support a path to citizenship for as many as 1.8 million undocumented immigrants brought into the United States as children, doubling the number of people covered by current protections from deportation, White House officials said on Thursday (Jan 25).

The president's willingness to sign a bill that includes a pathway to citizenship is a shift from his campaign promise to end all "amnesty" for undocumented immigrants.

Along those lines, the President Wednesday also again emphasized the need for an immigration deal to include $25 billion this year for his border wall, and another $5 billion for other immigration enforcement efforts.

But to get the 60 Senate votes to get a plan approved - a total that would require nine Democxrats if all 51 Republicans stuck together - Trump needs to convince the more skeptical partisans.

"The president's framework is generous and humane, while also being responsible", the Arkansas senator said in a statement.

For moderate Republicans and Democrats, that's good news.

Cornyn also said on the Senate floor Wednesday that Congress will need at least two more short-term spending deals before Democrats and Republicans can come to any sort of agreement to fund the government, raise spending caps, address immigration and DACA, and fund disaster relief.

Roy Beck, executive director of Numbers USA, declined to talk about the details of the call but said his group has made clear to the White House that it has issues with the current plan.

Lead negotiators in immigration say the President's comments represent "leadership", but whether Trump will stay there is an entirely different question.

Negotiations will be tough.

"The President is headed in the right direction here", tweeted Sen.

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Trump had previously only hinted support for a pathway to citizenship for the roughly 700,000 immigrants who submitted their applications for the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program by October 5.

The proposed bill, to be unveiled on Monday, requests $25bn ($NZ34bn) in funds for a wall on the Mexican border.

"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. He said he'll propose $25 billion for building a wall on the U.S. -Mexico border and $5 billion for other security measures.

"This framework will fulfill the four agreed-upon pillars: securing the border and closing legal loopholes; ending extended-family chain migration; cancelling the visa lottery, and providing a permanent solution on DACA", press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement.

The proposal was supposed to be under wraps (and maybe under development) until Monday, but presidential advisor (and former Michele Bachmann and Jeff Sessions staffer) Stephen Miller conducted a conference call with Republican congressional folk that naturally leaked nearly instantly.

Trump's sympathy to a pathway to permanency for the young immigrants after they've spent 10 or 12 years in the country is a "major breakthrough", argued Sen. "This framework provides certainty for families, enacts common-sense reforms to nuclear family sponsorship policy and protects our nation". The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program established under the Obama administration allowed people who had entered the country illegally as children to remain under deferred action from deportation. While the proposal's pathway to citizenship for almost 2 million undocumented immigrants will earn plaudits from many Democrats, the framework also includes several hardline immigration reforms that Democrats may find hard to swallow.

There was a much more measured response with Senate Republicans.

The White House announcement on immigration came as 35 senators gathered late Wednesday to figure out how the chamber will proceed on its immigration debate. The goal is to produce consensus legislation within the group that would be the starting point for Senate debate on immigration, which is expected to begin February 8, said Sens. I look forward to working with my colleagues to turn the framework into legislation that can pass both the House and the Senate with widespread support.

That proposal immediately provoked the ire of Democrats, who have been battling Republicans and Trump for weeks over immigration. He said the plan "doesn't pass the laugh test".

Lawmakers on both sides are under the microscope.

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