President Donald Trump is beginning a new push for strict measures on illegal immigration. He is calling on Congress to enact new laws that will make it more difficult to obtain refugee status or asylum in the US. Trump also wants to strip protection for children that come to the US illegally without their parents. The new proposal is expected to give immigration authorities power to detain families for a longer time as they process their status.
The White House proposal is a reflection of Trump’s hard-line stance on immigration. The President thinks that lax immigration laws are to blame for the increasing number of illegal immigrants, especially from Central and Latin America. However, there’s no evidence of an overall increase. In fact, the president has boasted many times before that illegal crossing at the southern border has dropped significantly under his administration.
Trump’s renewed legislative effort against illegal immigration comes at a time when the president is facing backlash from his core support base after signing a $1.3 trillion spending bill last week. The bill didn’t include funding for the proposed wall on the southern border, a key campaign promise for the Trump administration.
During the annual White House Easter Egg Roll on Monday, Trump weighed in on the status of DACA beneficiaries. The president argued that Democrats are to blame for the lack of legislative common ground on the issue. DACA is an immigration policy that allows illegal immigrants who came to the US as children to apply for work permits and deportation reprieves. Trump moved to shut down the program last fall.
Despite a bipartisan effort to find a legislative solution for the program, nothing was achieved in Congress. Trump reiterated during the Easter Egg Roll that DACA is dead and called out Democratic lawmakers for letting down the “Dreamers.”
But despite Trump’s statements, it’s important to note that the Democrats had in fact offered the president $25 billion for the border wall in exchange for the extension of the DACA program and a path towards citizenship for two million beneficiaries. The White House rejected the deal and demanded additional measures to curb both legal and illegal immigration.
Democrats have accused the president of misrepresenting the facts on the DACA situation. Representative Michelle Lujan Grisham, Democrat of New Mexico, says that Trump’s anti-immigration stance is dangerous. Lujan expressed disappointment to what she viewed as blatant DACA slander, and urged the president to instead focus his energies on finding a bipartisan solution to the matter.
Trump and his immigration advisors have always viewed DACA as a pull factor for illegal immigrants coming in the US. Nonetheless, the DACA program is seen as both a political and moral dilemma for the president and his administration. It’s not yet clear whether Trump will back away from his recent hard-line stance on DACA. However, as of now, the fate of two million undocumented immigrants is hanging in the balance.