Trump's immigration framework leaks, and everyone hates it

White House proposes citizenship for Dreamers in exchange for the border wall, extreme cuts to legal immigration

By Nicole Karlis

Senior Writer

Published January 25, 2018 6:35PM (EST)

 (AP/Evan Vucci/Getty/Spencer Platt)
(AP/Evan Vucci/Getty/Spencer Platt)

Since his campaign days, President Donald Trump has promised his supporters that his administration would bring about sweeping changes to the U.S. immigration policy. Indeed, a mainstay of his public statements has been his tendency to scapegoat immigrants — particularly Mexicans and Muslims — as the source of America's problems.

Now, after years of rhetoric, the Trump administration has reportedly proposed a “take it or leave it” draft of immigration reform legislation that could put as many as 1.8 million Dreamers — currently undocumented citizens who came to the United States as children — on the path to citizenship, in exchange for terminating immigration policies and building a massive a border wall, according to the New York Times.

Stephen Miller, Trump’s top immigration lieutenant, and White House Chief of Staff, John F. Kelly, drafted the plan that has reportedly been released to lawmakers. Miller, in particular, is known for his odious racial politics. A New York Times profile of him described multiple incidents in which Miller took offense at bilingual signage, and broke off a friendship in part due to his (former) friend's Hispanic heritage.

According to PBS Newshour correspondent, Yamiche Alcindor, who tweeted a photo of the proposed legislation's framework, White House officials are expected to share more information about the immigration plan on Monday.

The screenshotted draft of the framework explains that the Department of Homeland Security “must have the tools to deter illegal immigration.”  The proposed “tools” include a $25 billion trust fund for the “border wall system” which include entry ports, border improvements and enhancements; and additional funds to hire new Department of Homeland Security personnel, ICE attorneys, immigration judges, and other “law enforcement” professionals.

Yet there are concessions to Democrats, who are unlikely to approve an immigration bill that is so uncompromising. In return for the aforementioned concessions, the proposal would reportedly provide legal status for DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) recipients, and provide a 10 to 12-year path to citizenship. However, citizenship status could be subjected to revocation for criminal conduct or “public safety and national security concerns.”

The proposal also requests eliminating the diversity visa lottery which randomly selects individuals to come to the U.S., arguing that it is “riddled with fraud and abuse” and “does not serve national interest.”

Some conservatives were dismayed at the obvious concessions to the Democrats' immigration agenda. Former Republican congressman Joe Walsh tweeted that Trump “just threw away the entire reason for his presidency.”

Republican co-host of The View, Meghan McCain also took to Twitter to share her thoughts. "If Trump's base jumps for a bill that is ostensibly an imitation of the gang of 8 path to citizenship bill after this entire ant-immigrant 2016 election - he is no more than a cult of personality," she wrote. "This is not about conservatism. (and FYI I am a supporter of DACA/dreamers)."

Michael A. Needham, CEO of Heritage Action for America, a conservative policy advocacy group, condemned the proposal in a statement.

“Amnesty comes in many forms, but it seems they all eventually grow in size and scope. Any proposal that expands the amnesty-eligible population risks opening pandora’s box, and could lead to a Gang of Eight style negotiation. That should be a non-starter.”

Democrats aren’t happy either. Rep. Luis V. Gutierrez, D-Ill., said on Twitter it didn't pass the “laugh test.”

By Nicole Karlis

Nicole Karlis is a senior writer at Salon, specializing in health and science. Tweet her @nicolekarlis.

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Daca Deal Donald Trump Dreamers Immigration Framework Trump Administration