Trump seeks wall, crackdown on minors

October 09, 2017

Donald Trump's new list of immigration 'principles' has listed a border wall as a priority.

US President Donald Trump, who pledged to work with Democrats to protect "Dreamers" - young people brought illegally to the United States as children - has called for money to fund a border wall and thousands more immigration officers to be part of any deal.

Trump's list of immigration "principles", laid out in a document seen by Reuters, is likely to be a non-starter for Democrats, who are seeking a legislative fix for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program that Trump ended last month.

The proposal includes a crackdown on unaccompanied minors who enter the United States, many of them from Central America. The plan was delivered to leaders in Congress on Sunday evening.

The White House wants the wish list to guide immigration reform in Congress and accompany a bill to replace DACA, an Obama-era program that protected nearly 800,000 "Dreamers" from deportation and also allowed them to secure work permits.

The inclusion of border wall funding in the list could prompt Democrats to accuse Trump of rowing back earlier suggestions that he would keep the wall issue separate from an initiative to help DACA recipients.

The White House priorities, if enacted, could result in the deportation of Dreamers' parents.

The proposals also include a request for funds to hire 370 more immigration judges; 1000 attorneys for the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency; 300 federal prosecutors and 10,000 additional ICE agents to enforce immigration laws.

Trump told Congress it had six months to come up with legislation to help Dreamers, who are a fraction of the 11 million illegal immigrants in the United States, most of whom are Hispanic.

The document calls for tighter standards for those seeking US asylum, denial of federal grants to "sanctuary cities" that serve as refuges for illegal immigrants, and a requirement that employers use an electronic verification system known as "E-Verify" to keep illegal immigrants from securing jobs.

Trump campaigned for president on a pledge to toughen immigration policies and build a wall along the US border with Mexico.

He vowed repeatedly that Mexico would pay for the wall, but began prodding Congress earlier this year to approve funding. Mexico has said it would not pay for the wall.

A White House official told Reuters on Sunday the principles were a guide for the legislative process it hopes Republicans and Democrats will take up.

"Funding for the wall is a priority for the administration. Whether it is part of DACA or there is a different pathway to get it done, it will remain a priority," he said, adding it would be up to Trump to determine what was negotiable and what was not in a future deal.

The official said the White House would be pushing for "legal status" for the Dreamer population, but would not be advocating for citizenship.

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