Trump's 'common-sense compromise' on immigration to end the government shutdown isn't a compromise at all, critics say
Published in Business Insider on
President Donald Trump offered up a slew of immigration proposals that Democrats immediately shot down, in his latest attempt to secure funding for his wall.
President Donald Trump offered up a slew of immigration proposals on Saturday that Democrats immediately shot down as non-starters, in his latest attempt to secure funding for his long-promised border wall.
A government shutdown over the wall funding reached its 29th day on Saturday, and Trump gave a televised address announcing he would exchange temporarily extending protections for "Dreamers" and some other immigrants for $5.7 billion in wall funding.
Specifically, Trump said he would grant Dreamers — young unauthorized immigrants shielded from deportation under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program — a three-year extension on their protections. He also said he would grant a three-year extension on Temporary Protected Status for some 300,000 immigrants.
"This is a common-sense compromise both parties should embrace," Trump said. "The radical left can never control our borders. I will never let it happen. Walls are not immoral. In fact, they are the opposite of immoral."
But Democrats were quick to point out that it was Trump, himself, who rescinded protections for both Dreamers and TPS holders. None of Trump's supposed concessions would be necessary had he not jeopardized the immigrants' standing in the first place, critics argued.
"It was the President who singled-handedly took away DACA and TPS protections in the first place," Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said in a statement. "Offering some protections back in exchange for the wall is not a compromise but more hostage taking."
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a statement that Trump's proposals "do not represent a good faith effort to restore certainty to people's lives.
"It is unlikely that any one of these provisions alone would pass the House, and taken together, they are a non-starter," she said. "For one thing, this proposal does not include the permanent solution for the Dreamers and TPS recipients that our country needs and supports."
'A face-saving tactic'
Along with the DACA, TPS, and border-wall funding provisions, Trump's offer also included funding that would add 75 new immigration judge teams, an extra 2,750 Border Patrol agents and other law-enforcement officers, and allocate $800 million for "urgent humanitarian assistance" and $805 million in drug-detection technology.
But immigration experts and advocates weren't on board with his ideas either, arguing that Trump's DACA and TPS offers wouldn't even effectively resolve problems of his own making.
A key problem with Trump's proposal was that it offered little genuine protection for Dreamers, as they're already shielded from deportation as part of an ongoing court battle over DACA's fate, Jordan Bruneau, a senior policy analyst for the conservative Becoming American Initiative, told INSIDER.
He added that the offers also failed to tackle deeper problems within the US immigration system — namely, that there are not enough opportunities for immigrants to legally enter the country.
"A substantive offer would permanently legalize the Dreamers who are American in all but name and who play a vital role in the economy," Bruneau said. "It should also look to meaningfully address the root cause of illegal immigration by offering a market-based work visa system that would allow those who want to pursue the American dream by filling some of the nation's seven million unfilled jobs a legal opportunity to do so."
The American Civil Liberties Union also bashed Trump's plan, accusing him of "attempting to extort Americans" for his border-wall funding without offering any meaningful concessions.
"It is unclear if the one-sided proposal offered today is merely a face-saving tactic," ACLU Executive Director Anthony Romero said in as statement. "President Trump's proposed remedies for Dreamers and TPS recipients are far too limited. The President won't be able to buy a 'get out of a shutdown for free' card by offering such tepid fixes to DACA and TPS."
Even organizations that represent Dreamers and TPS recipients said Trump's offer was no good. Asian Americans Advancing Justice said in a statement that offering temporary reprieve from Trump's own actions against them was hardly a convincing bargaining chip.
"We want a permanent solution for our families and one that does not come at the expense of our brothers and sisters at the border," the statement said.