The Trump administration released their long-awaited immigration plan on Thursday, with measures that offer wins for both immigrant-rights advocates and border hawks.
The proposal would provide a pathway to citizenship for around 1.8 million “Dreamers” and also calls for a $25 billion added investment in border security — including the construction of a wall on the U.S. southern border, according to Fox News.
The plan, however, is being met with resistance from immigration hardliners who believe President Donald Trump is deviating from his past statements on granting citizenship to illegal immigrants, otherwise known as amnesty.
“We’re not looking at citizenship,” the president said earlier last year. “We’re not looking at amnesty. We’re looking at allowing people to stay here.”
Those statements came after he announced his intention to end the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals program. DACA was initiated by an executive order from former President Barack Obama and allows approximately 690,000 young illegal immigrants who entered the country at an early age to remain in the U.S. without facing the risk of deportation.
However, the president, along with many Republican lawmakers, has continued to show interest in keeping DACA in place by way of legislative action. The GOP has been working with Democrats on a fix to the Obama-era executive order.
Earlier this week, Trump said he was open to giving citizenship to young illegal immigrants under the DACA program after so many years — given that they obey the law, contribute to the U.S. economy and show “good moral character.”
“We’re going to morph into it,” Trump said of a pathway to citizenship. “It’s going to happen, at some point in the future, over a period of 10 to 12 years.”
In return for supporting DACA, the GOP has fought with Democrats to beef up border security and follow through on a major tenet of Trump’s campaign platform: the construction of a border wall between the U.S. and Mexico.
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Conservatives also want to end the visa lottery system and chain migration — immigration programs that, they argue, have allowed extremists to enter the U.S. Two separate terrorist attacks rocked New York City within a month of each other late last year. Both of the perpetrators came into the country using chain migration and the lottery program.
“We’re gonna end both of them,” the president said after the second attack occurred in December. “We’re going to end them. Fast.”
Most Republican leaders on Capitol Hill have suggested that a final immigration deal will include compromises. While the White House has released their plan, Congress is working on its own agenda.
Texas Sen. John Cornyn, when speaking to the media, said that there will be measures that supporters of border control like and other parts they will not like.
“I know people are going to focus on one part of it and say ‘we want to do that and we don’t want to do the rest,’ but I think the message of the president — you’ll probably hear on Monday — is that this is part of a package,” said Cornyn, who serves as the Senate Majority Whip.
GOP assurances have not quelled backlash from immigration hardliners.
“Jeez, Republicans snatch defeat right of the jaws of victory, again,” said Rosemary Jenks, the government relations director for NumbersUSA, according to Breitbart.
The reaction from more conservative voices highlights the major divide Republicans and Democratic lawmakers will have to navigate as they negotiate on a final immigration bill.
In retaliation for agreeing to end the government shutdown, left-wing protesters rallied outside Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer’s Brooklyn home, believing that the Democratic leader sold out to the president regarding a deal on DACA.