President Donald Trump made cracking
down on illegal immigration a centerpiece of his campaign. So, it was not a big
surprise when last September he announced he would let the Deferred Action for
Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program wind down in six months and place the matter
in the hands of a divided Congress. The administration gave lawmakers until
March 5 to address the DREAMers.
On Jan. 9, President Trump stated he was
willing to work with Democrats on a deal to allow the more than 700,000
children of undocumented immigrants set to lose their protection from
deportation to remain in the United States. He even said he would be willing to
sign a comprehensive immigration bill if lawmakers put a bipartisan piece of
legislation forward. President Trump later changed his mind. On Jan. 25, the Trump Administration proposed a
path to citizenship for 1.8 million undocumented people—in exchange for a $25
billion trust fund to pay for building a wall.
The president has four goals for any
- Add more border security, including a
wall along the U.S. and Mexico border.
- Grant legal status to DACA recipients
and other DACA-eligible illegal immigrants, adjusting the time-frame to
encompass a total population of approximately 1.8 million individuals.
- Promote nuclear family migration by
limiting family sponsorships to spouses and minor children only (for both
Citizens and Legal Permanent Residents).
- Eliminate the Visa Lottery program
and reallocate the visas to reduce the family-based “backlog” and high-skilled
Whether lawmakers will include all
for goals or whether they will work on a DACA only bill by March 5 is still unclear.
As the political debates continue, economists warn that removing all unauthorized
immigrants from the workforce could cost the U.S. economy as much as $5
trillion over 10 years.
ADEA continues to monitor the issue
and will report on the outcome of the debate.