In exchange for permanently protecting DACA recipients, the White House has demanded congress allocate funding for President Trump’s pet project, the border wall, and enact legislation that would crackdown on the wave of unaccompanied children entering the U.S. from Central America.
The demands, which were sent to Congressional leaders on Sunday, disputed an alleged compromise touted by Democrats shortly after Trump rescinded DACA last month. That deal, Senator Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said in a joint statement at the time, would protect DACA recipients and increase border security without construction of a wall.
But according to the New York Times, the Trump administration’s detailed list of immigration “principles” fully contradicted any deal Democrats supposedly negotiated. In addition to insisting on the border wall’s construction, Trump’s DACA compromise hinges on the Democrats willingness to prioritize one vulnerable undocumented immigrant population over another.
From the Times:
Administration officials said that Mr. Trump would seek to slam shut what they described as loopholes that encouraged parents from Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras to send their children illegally into the United States, where many of them melt into American communities and become undocumented immigrants.
The White House’s demands also include an overhaul of the green card application process. New visa applicants would be evaluated by a point system, not by their relationship to current American citizens. Stephen Miller, one of the administration’s most virulent anti-immigrant crusaders, introduced this proposal last month.
Confronted by an especially cruel Catch-22, Democratic leaders were astounded by the Trump administration’s list of demands. “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,” Pelosi and Schumer said in a joint statement on Sunday night.
“We told the President at our meeting that we were open to reasonable border security measures alongside the DREAM Act, but this list goes so far beyond what is reasonable,” the statement continued. “This proposal fails to represent any attempt at compromise.”
Ending DACA, it seems, served two purposes for Trump. On the one hand, it allows the White House to deport nearly 800,000 immigrants if congress doesn’t pass a permanent solution by March. On the other, the very real threat of a mass deportation serves as a potent bargaining tool: Democrats will likely be forced to accept some of Trump’s demands if they want to ensure DACA becomes law and its recipients are protected.