President Donald Trump made an offer to Democrats today: extended protection from deportation for so-called “dreamers” – young undocumented immigrants staying in the U.S. under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Act and temporary protected status for some immigrants in exchange for $5.7-billion in funding for a southern border wall.
“I am here to break the logjam and provide congress with a path forward to end the government shutdown,” Trump said of the partial government shutdown that is now in its 29th day.
Speaking at the White House, Trump said he supported a three-year extension that would let around 700,000 people who came to the U.S. illegally as children to keep their work permits and avoid deportation for revoked permits for another three years. Another 300,000 immigrants whose protected status is about to run out would be protected from deportation as well.
“We believe in a safe and lawful system of immigration, one that upholds our laws, our traditions, and our most cherished values,” Trump said. “Unfortunately our system has been broken for a very long time… we are now living with the consequences, brought about by decades of political stalemate. There is a humanitarian and security crisis on our southern border that requires action. Thousands of children are being exploited… nearly 50 migrants a day are being referred for urgent medical care, vast quantities of lethal narcotics are coming across our border.”
“The lack of border control provides a gateway for criminals and gang members to enter the United states, including the criminal aliens who murdered a brave California police officer only a day after Christmas,” Trump added. “I want this to end. It’s got to end now… as a candidate for President I promised to fix this crisis and I intend to fix it one way or another.”
The plan also call for the following:
$800-million in urgent “humanitarian assistance”, $805-million in drug detection tech to stop drug trafficking at the border, funding for new immigration agents as well as new judicial teams to eliminate a backlog of 900,000 immigration cases, a system to allow Central American minors to apply for asylum in their home countries, and $5.7-billion for a “strategic deployment of physical barriers or a wall. These are steel barriers in high priority locations, not from sea to shining sea.”
Trump said the plan is based on input from border agents and Homeland Security officials and called it a “common sense compromise both parties can embrace.”
Democrats, however, seemed unimpressed, with Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin of Illinois rejecting the deal before it was even announced, telling the Washington Post he “cannot support the proposed offer as reported and do not believe it can pass the Senate.” Democrats, who control the House of Representatives, have pitched $1-billion for border security but no funding for a wall.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi also came out against the proposal:
Democrats were hopeful that @realDonaldTrump was finally willing to re-open government & proceed with a much-needed discussion to protect the border. Unfortunately, reports make clear that his proposal is a compilation of previously rejected initiatives. https://t.co/MFwebWSevG pic.twitter.com/yMTm4iP27h
— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) January 19, 2019