The September agreement, which opened the door for a legislative fix to protect young undocumented immigrants from deportation, was seen as a coup by Democrats and viewed with horror by congressional Republicans and many conservative voters.
The White House pulled back on that handshake Sunday, reneging on Trump’s reported promise to protect Dreamers from deportation in return for a border security package that did not include his wall.
To sign off on legislation granting Dreamers “legal status” to remain, the White House reeled off a laundry list of immigration crackdowns certain to make a deal impossible given Democrats — and some Republicans — would likely demur.
The four key “principles” of Trump’s new policy are:
- Border Wall: Despite what Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer said, Trump is still aggressively pushing for a wall along the southern border.
- E-Verify: One quick way to hit the estimated 11 million unauthorized immigrants in the U.S. is to force employers to use the government’s E-Verify system as mandatory to check the legal status of current or future employees.
- Asylum Seekers: Trump wants to make it easier to deport people seeking asylum, by tightening the rules that govern who can stay in the U.S. and pursue an asylum case.
- Family-based immigration: The administration wants to limit family-based legal migration to minor children and spouses of U.S. citizens — meaning parents, adult children and siblings would not qualify.
A White House spokesman said the administration was “not interested in granting citizenship” to current DACA recipients, but instead would promise “legal status” to remain should their demands be met.
In a signed letter to congressional leaders, Trump said these demands “must be included as part of any legislation addressing the status” of DACA recipients.
House Minority Leader Pelosi, of California, and New York senator Schumer responded with a joint statement Sunday, saying the White House “can’t be serious” about “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.”