By Bianca Taipe
Nearly a month since U.S. President Donald Trump ended The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), he has been working on a deal with Democrats. Trump is “looking at allowing people [Dreamers] to stay here.”
However, Trump says “if we don’t have the wall, we are doing nothing,” CNN reports. Democratic leaders Senator Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi agreed to enshrine the protections of DACA into law quickly and were in support of “work[ing] out a package of border security, excluding the wall,” reports CNN.
DACA was an executive order carried out by former President Barack Obama in 2012. The program offered undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as children the opportunity to temporarily remain in the country and receive work permits and Social Security benefits, according to the New York Times.
According to the Pew Research Center, DACA has offered nearly 800,000 undocumented youths protection from deportation. To be considered for the program, an extensive background check is required and applicants must be either be enrolled in high school, have attained a high school diploma, or a GED. Since its beginning, DACA was deemed unconstitutional by Republicans and remained controversial for its implementation as an executive order.
After five years of the program, the Trump administration ended the DACA program on September 5. The decision to cease DACA included a six-month delay that will give Congress time to come up with a fix,CNN reports. By March of 2018, all participants will lose their benefits and will no longer be able to renew their temporary protected status.
According to CNBC, Trump is calling for “thousands more immigration officers,” in addition to the funding for his proposed border wall, as an incentive for his deal for Dreamers. This proposal that requests 370 more immigration judges, 1,000 attorneys for the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, 300 federal prosecutors, and 10,000 additional ICE agents was delivered to Congress on October 8.
In exchange for DACA, Trump’s administration is also calling to cut off key federal grants for sanctuary cities to empower state and local governments to enforce immigration law, reports Politico. However, Democratic leaders Schumer and Pelosi consider Trump’s requests “deal-breakers.”
The border wall has remained a priority for President Trump since the start of his campaign. His call for funding to go to the wall in exchange for DACA contradicts his campaign promise that Mexico would be responsible to pay for the wall. In response to the President’s proposal, Pelosi and Schumer issued a statement saying that Trump’s compromises are a list that is anathema to the Dreamers.
The proposal, which included the funding for the wall, demonstrated to the Democratic leaders that the president and his staff have not made a good faith effort to protect the Dreamers. The Washington Post reports that the demands were quickly denounced by Senator Schumer and Representative Pelosi.
The Trump administration cracked down on immigration as part of the DACA deal in an effort to protect public safety and jobs for American-born workers, reports the Washington Post. In fact, “the number of immigrants who have attempted to enter the country illegally across the Mexican border has decreased sharply since Trump took office,” reports the Washington Post.
President Trump wrote to Congress expressing that without these reforms, illegal immigration will continue without end. The president is now working on a deal that mentions funding for the wall while also noting it as a “top priority on the list.”