Trump Supports Path to Citizenship for 1.8 Million Dreamers

The White House released a framework for legislation to address immigration reform and border security, The Hill reported.

The immigration overhaul package would offer a path to citizenship to an estimated 1.8 million young immigrants brought to the United States as children—more than double the nearly 700,000 Dreamers now enrolled in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals  (DACA) program, which President Trump is seeking to end on March 5. The plan would include a 10- to 12-year pathway to citizenship, with requirements for work, education, and "good moral character," according to a fact sheet released Thursday.

In exchange for the Dreamer protections, President Trump would seek billions of dollars for a border wall and sweeping changes to the immigration system. The proposal calls for $25 billion to be placed into a trust fund for the proposed U.S.-Mexico border wall. The money would also be used for ports of entry and exit and improvements on the northern border, the fact sheet said.

Additionally, the White House framework would impose steep limits on migration by extended family members. Under the proposal, U.S. citizens and lawful residents would only be able to sponsor spouses and minor children, while family members such as parents, siblings and in-laws would not be eligible.

The administration's plan would also eliminate the visa lottery system, which allows people from countries with low levels of U.S. immigration to apply for visas. The proposal would "reallocate" the visas to clear a backlog of people waiting for family-based and high-skilled worker visas.

Officials who described the plan to reporters framed it as Congress's best chance to pass a fix for immigrants who benefit from the DACA program, according to the Hill. Despite the White House's optimism, the plan received near-universal dismissal from both Democrats and Republicans with hard-line immigration views.

The White House is urging the Senate to draw up legislation based on the plan and introduce it the week of February 5, days before government funding is set to expire, though officials said they do not have an assurance it will be considered, the Hill reported.


Related Links

White House Fact Sheet

The Hill