On Sunday, President Donald Trump outlined his plans and demands for any legislation which might address the future of DACA’s former beneficiaries.
The hardline policies on immigration may well complicate a deal Democrats had thought they’d made with the commander-in-chief on securing the future of the so-called ‘Dreamers’ in the United States – young men and women who were brought illegally to American soil as minors and know no other home.
“The priority for Congress ought to be to save American lives, protect American jobs and improve the well-being of American communities. These reforms accomplish that,” said a senior administration official Sunday night, while speaking to reporters. “They live up to the president’s campaign commitment to have an immigration system that puts the needs of hardworking Americans first.”
Trump’s comments on Sunday reflected the ideals and still-unfulfilled promises of his presidential campaign – including a demand for a bigger wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.
His latest demands run counter to the ‘deal’ he’d set about making with Democratic leaders in September.
The president had run a compromise that’d let Dreamers stay in the United States in exchange for increased funding for moderate enhancements in border security.
Now, the ever-indecisive president is back to demanding a border wall, as well as an end to what’s been termed “chain migration.”
Trump’s hardline stance also seems to contradict a promise he’d made to Dreamers themselves – since last April, the president had been telling DACA beneficiaries that he’d find a way to ensure they were safe from deportation.
Even when he canceled the program, President Trump seemingly instructed Congress to find a quick solution, in order to avoid the deportation of any Dreamers whose temporary work and residency permits might expire.
Among the biggest shifts from Sunday night is the White House’s announcement that it has no interest in providing a pathway to legal citizenship fro Dreamers, despite Democratic and Republican plans all offering just that.
However, Politico reports that two senior administration officials don’t believe Sunday’s demands were necessarily ultimatums – instead, they could just be opening offers for an eventual deal that may look very different from President Trump’s current vision.
Nevertheless, such assurances and speculations have touched a nerve with Democratic leaders, who thought they’d already come to a compromise.
In a joint statement, released Sunday, top Democrats Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer said the latest list of immigration requirements has surpassed what can rightly be called reasonable.
“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 Democrats said. “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.”