Trump Shifts Again on Dreamers as Citizens, Unsettles White House Hardliners

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Donald Trump speaks to mayors at the White House, January 24, 2018 (Pete Marovich/New York Times)

Donald Trump has shifted position again on almost 800,000 young undocumented “Dreamer” immigrants, saying that he is open to a path to their citizenship after 10 to 12 years — days after rejecting a bipartisan plan with that proposal at its center.

Reporters had gathered for a briefing from a senior official detailing the administration’s plans for tough restrictions on immigration agenda when Trump stopped by, shortly before departing for Davos, Switzerland:

Over a period of 10 to 12 years, somebody does a great job, they work hard — that gives incentive to do a great job. Whatever they’re doing, if they do a great job, I think it’s a nice thing to have the incentive of, after a period of years, being able to become a citizen.

The Trump Administration has threatened the Dreamers with deportation, ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals on March 5. DACA was ordered by Barack Obama in 2012 to allow the immigrants to remain in the US, with many pursuing university education and/or employment.

Trump also said that he would request $25 billion to build The Wall along the Mexican border and $5 billion for additional security measures.

Last Friday, Trump and Senate Minority Chuck Schumer discussed a plan including The Wall and the Dreamers, hours before the expiry of supplementary funding for the Federal Government. The initiative was overruled by White House officials and hardline Republicans in Congress, and the Government shutdown for three days until a funding extension was approved.

Trump’s remarks were backed by GOP Senator Lindsey Graham, the co-sponsor of immigration legislation:

President Trump’s support for a pathway to citizenship will help us get strong border security measures as we work to modernize a broken immigration system. Finally, with this statement we are on track to solving the immigration problem, which is the political key to rebuilding our military.

Graham’s co-sponsor, Democrat Dick Durbin, wrote on Twitter, “The President is headed in the right direction here.”

But Senator Tom Cotton, one of the hardline Republicans who pressed Trump to block the Graham-Durbin legislation two weeks ago, repeated that any deal on immigration must include more border security measures and an end to immigrants bringing relatives to the US, “to mitigate the negative side effects of codifying DACA”.

White House Tries to Contain Trump

Trump’s remarks undercut the effort by his hardline advisors, Stephen Miller and Chief of Staff John Kelly, to pursue the tough restrictions on immigration as part of any bill. Earlier on Wednesday, Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee said the administration would release a proposal next Monday that emphasizes the hardline demands.

White House officials scrambled yesterday after Trump’s remarks. They delayed the immigration briefing for almost an hour and then announced that it was postponed until Thursday.

Trump did say that he will insist on an end to the diversity lottery system, which encourages immigration from a variety of countries. He said that he wanted to negotiate an end to immigrants bringing relatives to the US, but will work to allow nuclear families to stay together.

Donald Trump shifts position again on almost 800,000 young undocumented “Dreamer” immigrants, saying that he is open to a path to their citizenship after 10 to 12 years — days after rejecting a bipartisan plan with that proposal at its center.

Reporters had gathered for a briefing from a senior official detailing the administration’s plans for tough restrictions on immigration agenda when Trump stopped by, shortly before departing for Davos, Switzerland:

Over a period of 10 to 12 years, somebody does a great job, they work hard — that gives incentive to do a great job. Whatever they’re doing, if they do a great job, I think it’s a nice thing to have the incentive of, after a period of years, being able to become a citizen.

The Trump Administration has threatened the Dreamers with deportation, ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals on March 5. DACA was ordered by Barack Obama in 2012 to allow the immigrants to remain in the US, with many pursuing university education and/or employment.

Trump also said that he would request $25 billion to build The Wall along the Mexican border and $5 billion for additional security measures.

Last Friday, Trump and Senate Minority Chuck Schumer discussed a plan including The Wall and the Dreamers, hours before the expiry of supplementary funding for the Federal Government. The initiative was overruled by White House officials and hardline Republicans in Congress, and the Government shutdown for three days until a funding extension was approved.

Trump’s remarks were backed by GOP Senator Lindsey Graham, the co-sponsor of immigration legislation:

President Trump’s support for a pathway to citizenship will help us get strong border security measures as we work to modernize a broken immigration system. Finally, with this statement we are on track to solving the immigration problem, which is the political key to rebuilding our military.

Graham’s co-sponsor, Democrat Dick Durbin, wrote on Twitter, “The President is headed in the right direction here.”

But Senator Tom Cotton, one of the hardline Republicans who pressed Trump to block the Graham-Durbin legislation two weeks ago, repeated that any deal on immigration must include more border security measures and an end to immigrants bringing relatives to the US, “to mitigate the negative side effects of codifying DACA”.

White House Tries to Contain Trump

Trump’s remarks undercut the effort by his hardline advisors, Stephen Miller and Chief of Staff John Kelly, to pursue the tough restrictions on immigration as part of any bill. Earlier on Wednesday, Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee said the administration would release a proposal next Monday that emphasizes the hardline demands.

White House officials scrambled yesterday after Trump’s remarks. They delayed the immigration briefing for almost an hour and then announced that it was postponed until Thursday.

Trump did say that he will insist on an end to the diversity lottery system, which encourages immigration from a variety of countries. He said that he wanted to negotiate an end to immigrants bringing relatives to the US, but will work to allow nuclear families to stay together.

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