Tagline: Until the Work Is Done
Trump’s Outrageous Demands in Exchange for a Dream Act are a Non-Starter
January 7, 2018 at 8:35 am

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By: Valerie Ploumpis, National Policy Director

The White House today issued a seven-page screed on immigration as the Administration’s opening offer in Congressional negotiations on the bipartisan Dream Act. The utterly outrageous demands were immediately rejected by the Democratic leadership in both houses.

Reportedly written by the far-right Political Adviser Stephen Miller, former Communications Director to then-Senator and now Attorney General Jeff Sessions, is an amalgam of every anti-immigration idea advanced by the Trump Administration and Congressional Republicans:

  • $18 billion in new funding for a border wall
  • Returning unaccompanied minor children to their home countries “or removed to a safe third country”
  • Clarifying that minor children who are accompanied by parents or guardians are not entitled to protection
  • Significantly tightening restrictions on asylum-seekers, including a grotesque “elevation of the threshold standard of proof in credible fear interviews”
  • Hiring 370 additional immigration judges, 1,000 Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents, an additional 10,000 ICE “officers,” and 300 Federal prosecutors to support Federal immigration prosecution efforts
  • Expanding the criteria that render ‘aliens’ inadmissible and ensure they are kept “in continuous custody until removal.” The provision includes former spouses and children if “the official determines the divorce was a sham or family members continue to receive benefits from illicit activity” such as aggravated felony; identity theft; fraud related to Social Security benefits; domestic violence; child abuse; drunk driving offenses; failure to register as a sex offender; or certain firearm offenses
  • Blocking sanctuary cities from receiving certain grants or cooperative agreements awarded by the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security
  • Requiring state and local governments to arrest and transfer “aliens” to Federal custody
  • Terminating “outdated” catch-and-release laws
  • Requiring employers to use “E-Verify” and would increase penalties
  • Expanding the definition of “deportable aliens” subject to removable on an expedited basis, including drunk drivers and gang members
  • Limiting family-based green cards to spouses and minor children and replacing the current family-based immigration system with a merit-based system
  • Eliminating the “Diversity Visa Lottery
  • Limiting the number of refugees.

Equality California estimates there are 75,000 LGBTQ Dreamers (undocumented young people whose parents brought them to the US before December 31, 2016 and before their 16th birthday) in California alone, and we have pushing for a Congressional solution for the 800,000 Dreamers for many months. We have long advocated for comprehensive immigration reform; until our nation has a just and functional immigration system, we do not have full and lasting LGBTQ equality.

As explained in a prior piece, the current crisis was entirely manufactured by President Trump when he unexpectedly gave Congress six months to “fix” the problem of undocumented youth. Indeed, his arbitrary deadline of March 6, 2018 tremendously aggravated the issue because now more than 15,000 DACA recipients have fallen out of protection since September 5, 2017, and can no longer legally work or drive, and now live in fear of arrest and deportation to countries they may never have visited or are hostile to LGBTQ people.

The principles set forth by the White House today clearly show they are not “negotiating” in good faith by issuing these hard-line demands. On the contrary – it is holding vulnerable Dreamers hostage to the Administration’s obsession with curbing legal immigration and with punishing undocumented people who remain in the US. Equality California remains committed to protecting the Dreamers and their families.

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