Trump seeks $33b for wall, suggests Dreamer citizenship path

Demonstrators at a rally in Washington on Sunday to show support for the Obama-era programme called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, which expires in March.
Demonstrators at a rally in Washington on Sunday to show support for the Obama-era programme called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, which expires in March.PHOTO: NYTIMES

WASHINGTON • President Donald Trump has previewed his outline for an immigration Bill that he will promote next week, saying he wants US$25 billion (S$33 billion) to build a border wall and is open to granting citizenship to illegal immigrants who were brought to the US as children.

Mr Trump once again seemed to undercut his administration's message, telling reporters at the White House on Wednesday that he would allow the young immigrants, known as Dreamers, to "morph into" citizens over a period of time.

"Over a period of 10 to 12 years," Mr Trump said, "somebody does a great job, they work hard - that gives incentive to do a great job. Whatever they're doing, if they do a great job, I think it's a nice thing to have the incentive of, after a period of years, being able to become a citizen."

Addressing the status of the Dreamers' parents, who brought them into America illegally, would be "tricky", Mr Trump said.

In September last year, Mr Trump ended an Obama-era programme, called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, saying it was an illegal assertion of executive authority by his predecessor.

But even as Mr Trump's actions have threatened nearly 700,000 young immigrants with the fate of deportation when the programme expires on March 5, the President has urged Congress to find a permanent solution that could allow them to live and work in the country legally.

In addition to suggesting a pathway to citizenship for the Dreamers, Mr Trump said he would request US$25 billion to build a wall along the United States border with Mexico, though he said he would build it "way under budget".

He also said that his plan would include a request for US$5 billion for additional security measures along the border.

NYTIMES, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 26, 2018, with the headline 'Trump seeks $33b for wall, suggests Dreamer citizenship path'. Print Edition | Subscribe