WASHINGTON – The Trump administration has sent an immigration policy wish-list to Congress that could derail efforts to protect from deportation hundreds of thousands of young immigrants who were brought into the U.S. illegally as children.
The demands, which were sent to lawmakers Sunday, called for limiting family-based green cards to spouses and the minor children of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents and creating a point-based system. The White House also said it wants to boost fees at border crossings, make it easier to deport gang members and unaccompanied children, overhaul the asylum system, and hire 10,000 more immigration officers, among other proposals.
It was unclear whether the principles were intended as a broad outline of goals or as specific demands the White House expects to be implemented in exchange for signing legislation that would protect the young immigrants known as “Dreamers.”
Trump has given Congress six months to find a replacement for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA program. Initiated under President Barack Obama, the program protected hundreds of thousands of young people from deportation and allowed them to continue working legally in the country.
Democrats vehemently oppose many of the demands laid out in the administration list.
In a joint statement, House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said the list “goes so far beyond what is reasonable” and “fails to represent any attempt at compromise.”
“The Administration can’t be serious about compromise or helping the Dreamers if they begin with a list that is anathema to the Dreamers, to the immigrant community and to the vast majority of Americans,” they wrote.
“If the President was serious about protecting the Dreamers, his staff has not made a good faith effort to do so,” they said.
House Speaker Paul Ryan’s spokesman Doug Andres said the House immigration working group will review the list and consult with Republican members and the administration.
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