- President Donald Trump offered protection for so-called Dreamers, who are undocumented immigrants brought to the United States when they were children, as well as other groups of immigrants, in exchange for funding for his border wall in a televised address from the White House on Saturday.
- Top Democrats have already shot down Trump’s proposal, with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi calling the deal “unacceptable.”
- Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer noted in a statement that Trump was the one who jeopardized Dreamers’ standing in the first place by rescinding their protections. He called Trump’s strategy a “hostage-taking.”
President Donald Trump on Saturday offered Democrats a deal combining temporary protection for so-called “Dreamers” and other immigration proposals in exchange for funding for his border wall – immediately prompting scorn from top Democrats, who rejected the offer before Trump even announced it.
Trump, who shut down the government to pressure Congress to approve funding for a $US5.7 billion border wall, offered to extend temporary protection by three years for recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, also known as Dreamers, as well as extending the legal status of immigrants with Temporary Protected Status.
“This is a common-sense compromise both parties should embrace,” he said. “The radical left can never control our borders. I will never let it happen. Walls are not immoral. In fact, they are the opposite of immoral.”
In a televised address from the White House, Trump outlined his offer:
- $US5.7 billion in funding for a 230-mile stretch of the border wall.
- Extending protection for 700,000 Dreamers for three years.
- Extending TPS protections for 300,000 immigrants for three years.
- Adding 75 new immigration judge teams.
- An additional 2,750 Border Patrol agents and law-enforcement professionals.
- $US800 million in “urgent humanitarian assistance.”
- $US805 million in drug-detection technology for the ports of entry.
Trump also proposed a “new system” that would have Central American children apply for asylum in their home countries, rather than requesting it after reaching the US.
He added that the border wall he was demanding would not be a “2,000-mile concrete structure from sea to shining sea,” but a “powerfully designed, see-through steel barrier” in “high-priority locations.”
Democrats began pushing back against the offer hours before Trump’s remarks.
Sen. Dick Durbin, an Illinois Democrat that has been at the forefront of the immigration debate in Congress, posted a statement stating that he does not support the offer as it has been reported and does not think it would pass the Senate.
— Eli Yokley (@eyokley) January 19, 2019
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi also rejected the idea, saying: “Unfortunately, initial reports make clear that his proposal is a compilation of several previously rejected initiatives, each of which is unacceptable and in total, do not represent a good faith effort to restore certainty to people’s lives.”
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer noted in a statement that Trump was the one who rescinded DACA and TPS protections in the first place.
“Offering some protections back in exchange for the wall is not a compromise but more hostage taking,” he said. “There’s only way out: open up the government, Mr. President, and then Democrats and Republicans can have a civil discussion and come up with bipartisan solutions.”
Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal similarly rejected the proposal, writing on Twitter, “this Trump con will fool few Americans.”
More fake promises raising false hopes—this Trump con will fool few Americans. It is not serious or credible as a dreamer remedy. First & foremost: Reopen the government. https://t.co/3HLo4VzN3V
— Richard Blumenthal (@SenBlumenthal) January 19, 2019
On the Republican side of the aisle, the reported offer has drawn mixed reviews. Rep. Steve King, who has been stripped of committee assignments thanks to racist comments he made in a New York Times interview, tweeted that he was against any kind of deal that gives amnesty to undocumented immigrants currently in the country.
Sen. Marco Rubio, however, tweeted his support for the deal, saying the shutdown “can only end through mutual concessions that lead to an agreement.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell also praised Trump for the proposal, calling it a “bipartisan approach” that could “actually resolve this impasse.”
“Compromise in divided government means that everyone can’t get everything they want every time,” McConnell said in a statement. “The President’s proposal reflects that. It strikes a fair compromise by incorporating priorities from both sides of the aisle.”