TrumpWatch, Day 263: Trump Scraps Immigration Deal with Democrats

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Donald Trump at Trump National Golf Club in Sterling, Virginia, October 9. 2017 (Ian MacNicol/Getty)

“If the President was serious about protecting the Dreamers, his staff has not made a good faith effort to do so.”


Developments on Day 263 of the Trump Administration:

Trump Restores Wall, Cracks Down on Minors in Revision of Dreamers Deal

The Trump Administration revises the “Dreamers” deal on young undocumented immigrants.

In mid-September, Trump suddenly dropped Administration threats to deport many of the 800,000 Dreamers, who came to the US as children and now are in education or work. In a White House meeting, he surprised top Republican legislators by agreeing with Senate and House Minority Leaders Charles Schumer and Nancy Pelosi that he would work with them on legislation to establish rights under the Deferred Action for Children Arrivals, an order of President Barack Obama in 2013.

But the White House has now delivered a plan to Congressional leaders that demands a crackdown on unaccompanied minors and construction of the 1,900-mile Wall on the US-Mexican border

The proposals include a request for funds to hire 370 more immigration judges; 1,000 attorneys for the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency; 300 federal prosecutors; and 10,000 additional Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents. They call for tighter standards for those seeking US asylum, denial of federal grants to “sanctuary cities”, and a requirement that employers use an electronic verification system to keep illegal immigrants from securing jobs.

If enacted, the plan could result in the deportation of Dreamers’ parents.

Pelosi and Schumer reacted angrily:

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.

The list includes the wall, which was explicitly ruled out of the negotiations. If the president was serious about protecting the Dreamers, his staff has not made a good faith effort to do so.

Hispanic legislators were also vehement in their criticism. Representative Luis Gutiérrez of Illinois, said Schumer and Pelosi need to forget about the mid-September deal, over a Chinese dinner with Trump:

I hope the meal was grand because it is obvious today that Donald Trump is not keeping his word. This is the glue that keeps them together, their adamant anti-immigrant policy, and you’re going to need a powerful political tool in order to dislodge them.

Representative Michelle Lujan Grisham of New Mexico, the chairwoman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, said the Administration’s demands were “immoral.”

But Trump’s legislative affairs director, Marc Short, told reporters, “These priorities are essential to mitigate the legal and economic consequences of any grant of status to DACA recipients.”

The White House also made clear that it is only seeking legal status, not citizenship, for Dreamers.

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