On October 8, 2017, the Trump administration released several documents outlining its immigration policy priorities divided into three categories:
- Border Security;
- Interior Enforcement; and
- Merit-Based Immigration System.
The administration sent these documents to Congress as a list of demands that must be included in any legislation addressing the status of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients. The Trump administration recently ended DACA, asking Congress to find a legislative fix before the deadline of March 5, 2018, leaving the lives of 800,000 undocumented young Americans hanging in a balance.
Commonly referred to as the DREAMers, these young immigrants were brought to the U.S. as children and grew up Americans except on paper. DACA gave these DREAMers protection from deportation and work authorization enabling them to positively contribute to their communities.
What information did the White House documents contain?
The documents contained a list of demands that the Trump administration would like included in the DACA legislation currently being decided in Congress. While the documents do not refer to specific bills, the substance of the White House policies closely track several bills currently in Congress.
he "merit-based" reforms run parallel to the RAISE Act, introduced earlier this year by Senators Cotton (R-AR) and Perdue (R-GA), which would drastically cut legal immigration levels, while the enforcement provisions can be largely tied to H.R. 2431, an enforcement-only bill introduced by Rep. Labrador (R-ID) that would dramatically expand immigration enforcement, criminalize undocumented immigrants, and result in mass deportations nationwide.
elow is a summary of each priority:
- Border Security. The Trump administration is asking for border wall funding, asylum reform, expanding categories of inadmissibility and expediting the removal of illegal entrants and others with immigration violations. It also wants to limit the reach of the Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS) program which helps foreign children in the United States who have been abused, abandoned, or neglected get permanent residency (green card).
- Interior Enforcement. The Trump administration wants to punish Sanctuary Cities and Jurisdictions and deputize state law enforcement agents as immigration agents enforcing federal immigration law. It wants to criminalize visa overstays and require employers to use E-Verify. Among others, it wants to crack down on gang members and expand the criminal grounds for deportation.
- Merit-based Immigration. The Trump administration wants to establish a points/merit-based system for green cards and limit family-based green cards to include only spouses and minor children. It also wants to eliminate the Diversity Visa Program and decrease the number of refugees allowed in the U.S.
Click here to read the documents.
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