Trump says he is open to a path to citizenship for 'dreamers'

Lucy Bush
January 26, 2018

A one-page memo sent to congressional Republicans Thursday afternoon backs a 10- to 12-year path to citizenship for not just the roughly 700,000 enrolled in the expiring DACA program but for other "DACA-eligible illegal immigrants" who are in the US illegally and were brought to the country as children.

President Trump will unveil a new "legislative framework" on immigration Monday, as the White House and congressional Democrats try to resolve their differences on the politically charged issue and avoid the possibility of another government shutdown.

"We're going to morph into it".

Trump called it an "incentive" for the immigrants, who largely have known no other country beside America, to work hard and do a "great job".

Trump plan offers path to citizenship for 1.8 million immigrants

Connecticut DACA recipients say they are disappointed that Congress passed a second stopgap funding bill without an immigration deal. His statement came days after a shutdown and after many Republicans had resigned themselves to the fact that they might have to go it alone on immigration.

"Whether they have a little company or whether they work or whatever they're doing - if they do a great job, I think it's a nice thing to have incentive of, after a period of years being able to become a citizen".

But in September, the president announced the program would end, and that he'd give Congress until March 5 to come up for a solution for DACA recipients.

"Yeah I might do that". Mitch Landrieu, the mayor of New Orleans and the president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, said on Wednesday at a news conference in Washington that he saw the Justice Department's move as an "attack", and that he could not "in good conscience" attend the White House meeting.

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Trump is also asking Congress for a $25-billion (U.S.) trust fund to pay for a southern border wall and enhanced security at ports of entry and along the U.S.

Sanders said the new White House offer will represent "a compromise that members of both parties can support", but she did not provide details.

Senate Democrats are willing to drop their demand that relief for Dreamers be tied to any long-term budget agreement - a potential breakthrough on spending talks, but one that could face opposition from their House counterparts.

The President also offered some clarity on what he's looking for on his asks to curtail "chain migration", or family-based visa categories, and the diversity visa lottery - though he left some wiggle room for negotiation. They want to run on a position that 80 percent to 90 percent of voters reject, an issue that will help Democrats drive turnout in places such as Texas, California and Florida.

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You can look at this two ways: as the continuing retreat from their rhetoric on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (a function of reluctant moderates and simple math) or, alternatively, a decision that DACA can be wrapped around the necks of Republicans in the midterms. "We're not trying to force something on the House". But the proposal would also cover those undocumented immigrants who meet the DACA criteria but did not sign up and even more who would be newly eligible under the proposal's timeframe requirements - giving legal status and a pathway to citizenship to about 1.8 million people.

"Well I can tell you this - if you don't have a wall you don't have DACA", Mr. Trump said. The low end is the 690,000 protected by DACA, but some lawmakers say the number could be as high as 3 million.

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