Trump offers amnesty to Dreamers in return for $25bn fund to build Mexico border wall

As many as 1.8 million Dreamers could see relief

Clark Mindock
New York
Thursday 25 January 2018 23:08 GMT
The bill would include billions in funding to build Mr Trump's promised border wall
The bill would include billions in funding to build Mr Trump's promised border wall (Reuters)

The White House has presented an immigration reform plan to Congress that would include a pathway to citizenship for as many as 1.8 million Dreamers in exchange for a dramatic increase in restrictions for immigration in the future and $25 billion to fund his long promised border wall.

A senior White House official reportedly outlined one-page framework to Republican staffers on Capitol Hill. That official called the new plan “a compromise position that we believe… will get 60 votes in the Senate” and was also “a framework that ultimately will lead to passage of a law,” according to multiple reports.

The framework also reportedly eliminates the visa lottery for immigrants, and would cut migration into the US for extended family members of individuals already in the country. Those would mark a substantial shift in America’s existing policies. Only immediate relatives of new citizens could be sponsored.

The inclusion of a path to citizenship for so many immigrants who came here illegally when they were young could be the biggest obstacle to the White House's efforts to pass such a deal.

Just hours before the Trump administration reportedly announced their plans to Republicans in Congress, a top Senator signalled that any path to citizenship for any immigrants in the US would make a deal dead on arrival.

"I do not belive we should be granting a path to citizenship to anybody here illegally," Mr Cruz told reporters Thursday. "Doing so is inconsistent with the promises we made to the men and women who elected us."

Mr Cruz then twisted the knife, comparing President Donald Trump's recent openness to granting a pathway to citizenship to former President Barack Obama.

"For some reason that to me is utterly inexplicable, we see Republicans falling all over themselves to gallop to the left of Obama in a way that is contrary to the promises made to the voters who elected us," Mr Cruz continued.

Conservative news outlets have railed against the President on the issue as well, yielding rare critical headlines criticising Mr Trump in outlets that generally sing his praises.

Mr Trump announced last year that he was ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals programme, which provided opportunity for immigrants who came to the US when they were young to register with the federal government for work permits and to go to school. That decision left nearly 800,000 young people who had participated in the programme with uncertain futures, and wondering whether the US would actually send them back to their home countries.

Those protections are set to expire March 5 unless Congress is able to find a solution, which has so far proven elusive. At least two high profile efforts to ramp up pressure in Congress have failed, both of which were tied to government funding. One of those efforts, just last week, led to a three day government shutdown.

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