WASHINGTON — US President Donald Trump on Sunday sent Congress his immigration legislation priorities, including building a controversial border wall, speeding up deportations and dramatically increasing the number of officials involved in enforcement.
The administration tied these priorities to Democrats’ desire to provide legal protection to some 800,000 immigrants known as “Dreamers” who came to the country illegally as children and were covered by an amnesty brought by former President Barack Obama that Trump scrapped last month.
“These priorities are essential to mitigate the legal and economic consequences of any grant of status to DACA recipients,” Trump’s legislative director Marc Short told journalists on Sunday, referring to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals amnesty order.
The White House list is topped by “border security”, a category that includes building a massive wall on the southern US border that Trump promised would be paid for by Mexico, which has said it will not do so.
Trump also wants to dramatically ramp up the number of officials involved in enforcement, hiring an additional 10,000 Immigrations and Customs Enforcement officers and 1,000 attorneys, 370 immigration judges and 300 federal prosecutors.
And he hopes to prevent immigrants from sponsoring extended family members to move to the US, limiting such green cards to spouses and children.
Trump’s list drew immediate fire from Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi, the respective Democratic leaders in the Senate and House.
“This proposal fails to represent any attempt at compromise,” the legislators said in a joint statement.
“The list includes the wall, which was explicitly ruled out of the negotiations. If the President was serious about protecting the Dreamers, his staff has not made a good faith effort to do so,” they said.