President Trump blew up the DACA “deal” he supposedly made with Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi four weeks ago. At that time he said that he wanted Congress to act immediately so that young immigrants with DACA would not become undocumented and be deported. A few nights later he had a Chinese dinner with the Democratic leaders of the House and Senate which resulted in a tentative “deal” to protect DREAMers.
Last night, the White House circulated a set of demands for DACA legislation to Republicans in Congress that demolishes the DACA negotiation. Trump is demanding 72 separate immigration concessions from the Democrats in exchange for protections for those with DACA. While the media is focusing on Trump’s demand for funding for the Border Wall, that is only one of many dramatically anti-immigrant demands contained in the memo. Most of the changes listed by Trump focus on reducing legal immigration and blocking the entry of refugees into the United States, matters completely unrelated to DACA.
The White House memo claims, without any evidence, that legal immigration has undermined the United States economy. Roughly 75% of legal immigration is family-based. According to the memo, family-based immigration “has suppressed wages, fueled unemployment and strained federal resources.” Under the Trump system roll-back of Family-Based immigration, United States Citizens would no longer be able to apply for green cards for their parents, their married children, or their children over the age of 20, or for their own brothers and sisters. The Trump proposal would cut legal immigration in half and actually promote undocumented immigration by these now-inadmissible family members. The proposal also dramatically slashes refugee admissions and eliminates visas designed to diversify the source countries for immigration. None of these proposals are directed at undocumented immigrants. All are direct attacks on the legal immigration system.
The president also proposes giving ICE the authority to hold a non-criminal deportable immigrant in prison for life without any of the protections normally given to those facing jail-time for criminal activity.
It gets worse. After pardoning Sheriff Joe Arpaio last month, Trump has decided that the country would be better off with hundreds of “Sheriff Joes.” In exchange for relief for those with DACA, Trump insists that local police be authorized to enforce immigration laws and be given “immunity” if they are sued for violating immigrants’ rights.
The president also demands that overstaying a visa be made a crime, for the first time in American history. He wants to take away law enforcement grants from states and cities that refuse to make their police departments into immigration enforcement forces. With regard to child refugees from Central America, the president wants to end providing them with even minimal standards of incarceration and due process.
Oh yes, and then there is The Wall.
These proposals are outside of the Republican mainstream and reflect the dreams and wishes of the Alt-Right White Nationalists who make up the core of the president’s base.
The White House demands are here.