Trump Unveils Immigration Proposal to Howls on Both Sides of Aisle

February 26, 2018 9:26 am
by David Jakeman

It’s been hard to pin down President Trump on immigration. In one statement, he seems to support focused immigration reform for DACA holders, and then in another, he reverses course to say there can be no DACA deal without a number of other concessions. So it comes as some relief that the White House has finally issued its own immigration proposal. Not surprisingly, both sides of the political spectrum have been howling about the Trump plan. Portland immigration lawyers are certainly cheering some provisions, but other proposals are quite unwelcome.

DACA Relief

Compared with other DACA proposals floating around Capitol Hill, Trump’s plan for DACA is quite generous. Not only would he grant permanent legal status to the 690,000 Dreamers who received DACA, but he would also extend eligibility to the estimated 1.1 million young people who qualified for the program but did not apply. Trump’s plan would also put Dreamers on a path to citizenship, albeit an extended one of ten to twelve years.

Big Changes to Existing Immigration Law

However, the DACA proposal comes with some big strings attached. Trump proposes that in exchange for giving legal status to young people, $25 billion be allocated for border security. The proposal also requires ramping up immigration arrests and speeding up deportations.

Additionally, it would require drastic changes to the immigration system that has been in place for decades. The preference category system would be scuttled, instead only allowing immigrants to petition for their immediate relatives – spouses and minor children. That would eliminate the path for parents, siblings, and adult children to join their respective family members in the US.

However, Trump’s proposal promises to honor the applications already submitted, some of which face decades of waiting for visas to become available. In order to help clear this backlog, the Trump administration proposes ending the diversity visa lottery and allocating those visas to family-based applications.

Outrage at Trump’s proposal has been loud and swift. Liberals condemned the proposed restrictions on family-based immigration and the end of the visa lottery. Conservatives howled about amnesty for undocumented immigrants.

Immigration lawyers in Portland and throughout the country took to social media to defend the benefits that immigrants make in their communities and to the nation as a whole. Very few people seemed happy about the direction the Trump administration wants to take immigration, and it remains to be seen if the proposal will help spur reform.

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