Trump issues immigration demands

Advocacy groups and others at a protest in the US Capitol on Oct 5 demanding the passage of a Bill to grant legal status to Dreamers.
Advocacy groups and others at a protest in the US Capitol on Oct 5 demanding the passage of a Bill to grant legal status to Dreamers.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

WASHINGTON • The White House has delivered a long list of hardline immigration demands to Congress in return for any deal to protect young undocumented immigrants called the "Dreamers".

The move puts in peril a fledgling bipartisan push to reach a legislative solution. Before agreeing to provide legal status for 800,000 young immigrants brought to the country illegally as children, US President Donald Trump will insist on building a wall along the southern border, and hiring 10,000 immigration agents.

He will also want tougher laws for those seeking asylum, and denial of federal grants to "sanctuary cities", officials said on Sunday.

The White House is also demanding the use of the "e-verify" scheme by firms to keep illegal immigrants from getting jobs, an end to people bringing their extended families into the United States, and tightening the border against thousands of children fleeing violence in Central America. The demands were quickly denounced by Democratic leaders in Congress, who had hoped to forge a deal with Mr Trump to protect younger immigrants.

Mr Trump last month met Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and agreed to try to strike a deal. Immigration hawks feared Mr Trump would support a Bill that would allow Dreamers to gain full legal status, without asking for major border security measures in return.

The list of demands released by the White House, however, would represent major curbs in immigration laws, including legal immigration.

Mr Schumer and Ms Pelosi, in a joint statement, said: "The administration can't be serious about compromise or helping the Dreamers if they begin with a list that is anathema to the Dreamers, to the immigrant community and to the vast majority of Americans."

NYTIMES, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, WASHINGTON POST

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 10, 2017, with the headline 'Trump issues immigration demands'. Print Edition | Subscribe