The White House is prepared to offer nearly two million undocumented immigrants brought into the country as children a legal path toward citizenship as part of its long-awaited immigration proposal to Congress, details of which were released on Thursday. But in exchange, the Trump administration is seeking to dramatically clamp down on legal immigration and dramatically ramp up law enforcement and the militarization of the border between the United States and Mexico—including a $25 billion request to fund President Trump’s border wall.
Speaking with the Washington Post on Thursday, administration officials suggested that both the nearly 800,000 DACA recipients currently protected from deportation and the approximately one million DACA-eligible immigrants who had not applied for the program would be offered a path to citizenship.
It’s a proposal White House officials hope will be brought to the Senate in the coming weeks, and will appease Democrats enough to break a stalemate that led to a government shutdown.
However, everything else in the proposal—reportedly drafted by hardline nationalist Stephen Miller and White House Chief of Staff John Kelly—is in line with far-right thinking on immigration. Along with the demand for billions to pay for the border wall are calls to curb or completely eliminate legal forms of immigration, such as the visa lottery and so-called “chain migration” which allows members of the same extended family to immigrate to the U.S. (Ending the diversity visa lottery could reduce legal immigration to the U.S. by as much as 50%.) There are also several measures to increase immigration arrests and speed up deportation procedures.
“We will oppose it. Most if not all Democrats will oppose it. Some Republicans will, too,” America’s Voice executive director Frank Sharry told the New York Times. “We are not going to allow Stephen Miller to exploit a crisis that he and his boss created to take a wrecking ball to the Statue of Liberty and enact his nativist wish list.”
Democrats have repeatedly insisted that protection for DACA recipients and other undocumented immigrants who were brought here as children must be in any legislation before they’d sign onto an immigration bill. Whether Trump’s additional demands will prove too much for them remains to be seen.