Trump's new immigration proposals are a right-wing wish list

Trump wants money for a border wall and major immigration cuts in return for protections for Dreamers

By Matthew Rozsa

Published February 12, 2018 10:47AM (EST)

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, ICE agents (Bryan Cox/ICE via AP)
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, ICE agents (Bryan Cox/ICE via AP)

President Donald Trump and Senate Republicans are pushing for an immigration reform bill that, aside from a concession made to Dreamers, is nothing short of a right-wing wish list.

A plan put forward by the Senate would curtail legal immigration by getting rid of the diversity lottery and reducing family-based immigration, according to The Wall Street Journal. While these measures would reduce legal immigration by roughly 30 percent, conservatives are hoping to give the appearance of bipartisanship by also proposing a path to citizenship for Dreamers, the approximately 1.8 million undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children.

This plan is consistent with Trump's own proposals, which included requesting $25 billion for beefed up border security and the controversial border wall, as well as measures to make it easier to deport and detain undocumented immigrants.

It is unclear how Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell feels about his chamber's new immigration plan. The current proposal is likely to face considerable revisions as conservatives and liberals from both parties comb through its details and insist on changes that meet their various ideological goals.

"He’s trying to be an honest broker in this and just make sure that he treats people fairly. I’m sure he has his preferences. I’ve never heard him express them, exactly. I’m not aware of any particular bill that he really likes," Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., told Politico.

But the bill could be read as a sign that Trump's anti-immigration policies would be very draconian. Arrests by Immigration and Customs Enforcement have increased by 40 percent since he took office, with arrests of "noncriminal" undocumented immigrants more than doubling during that same period, according to The Washington Post.

"The president wanted to take the shackles off individuals in these agencies and say, ‘You have a mission, there are laws that need to be followed, you should do your mission and follow the law,’" former White House press secretary Sean Spicer told reporters in February of last year, in response to some of these criticisms.

Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer for Salon. He holds an MA in History from Rutgers University-Newark and is ABD in his PhD program in History at Lehigh University. His work has appeared in Mic, Quartz and MSNBC.

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