President Trump will back a pathway to citizenship for 1.8 million Dreamers, White House officials announced late Thursday, but it won’t come free: in return, he wants $25 billion in border wall funding and security, and severe limitations on legal immigration.
The White House is calling the plan, which would more than double the number of Dreamers enrolled in the previous DACA plan Trump terminated in September, a “legislative framework.” On a call with Capitol Hill staffers Thursday, White House officials said they believe lawmakers on both sides of the aisle will support the bill.
But many of the policy points are non-starters for Democrats. In addition to the $25 billion in border wall funding, the plan would end the diversity visa lottery program and limit family migration to spouses and minor children. Dreamers protected by the bill will have a path to citizenship — as long as they meet “requirements for work, education, and good moral character.” The plan would also “ensure the prompt removal of illegal border crossers, regardless of country of origin,” which would certainly include the family members of Dreamers, who will not be able to sponsor their parents under the plan.
But despite the White House’s assurance of bipartisan support, activists are already coming out against the proposal.
"They think that by offering up a spoonful of sugar — relief for Dreamers — they can get Congress and the American people to swallow the bitter medicine of radical nativism," Frank Sharry, founder of America's Voice, told NBC. "We are going to fight this tooth and nail."
Erika Andiola, an undocumented immigration activist who benefited from DACA, also voiced her opposition for the plan and its architect, White House aide Stephen Miller, on Twitter.
Similar bills have already been introduced in both chambers. A bipartisan Senate bill includes the same limitations on family migration, but just $2.7 billion in border wall funding. And a hardline House Republican bill would punish Dreamers with prison time for making less than the required income of 125% more than the poverty line.
The ACLU director of immigration policy Lorella Praeli, called the proposal “xenophobic” and “hateful,” saying, “Stephen Miller has said that his proposal is ‘extremely generous,’ but the only community that benefits from this supposed generosity are white supremacists.”