The White House announced on Thursday evening that President Donald Trump would send Congress a four point immigration plan next week, which would request $25 billion for border security efforts, and allow 1.8 million people currently in the country illegally to get a 10-12 year path to citizenship.
In a briefing for reporters, a senior White House official said the larger than expected number who would be eligible for U.S. citizenship would encompass more than just those who had signed up for the Obama Administration's DACA program.
"We believe that we have come up with a framework that represents a compromise that members of both parties can support, and we encourage the Senate to bring this to the floor," the official said.
"The White House framework is something that both Republicans and Democrats in the House and Senate should be eager to support. We all want a good deal, and here it is," said Sen. David Perdue (R-GA).
The plan runs along the lines of what has been floated by the White House for the last two weeks:
+ $25 billion for border security and immigration enforcement efforts.
+ An end to the diversity visa lottery program
+ New limits on family migration, to include only spouses and minor children.
+ A path to citizenship for 1.8 million younger illegal immigrants.
"We have spent a lot of time trying to find the right place to be in order to push forward," the official said, arguing that this was a plan which represented a true effort at compromise.
The White House official urged the Senate to use this plan as the basis for an expected immigration debate in coming weeks, and several GOP Senators immediately praised the effort.
"The White House immigration framework is a step in the right direction," said Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT).
"I applaud the White House for offering a solid framework for immigration reform that provides a responsible solution for DACA, border security, and other immigration issues," said Sen. James Lankford (R-OK).
"I am hopeful that as discussions continue in the Senate on the subject of immigration, members on both sides of the aisle will look to this framework for guidance as they work towards an agreement," said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
But there were certain to be hurdles to the President's proposal.
For Republicans, the larger figure of 1.8 million was sure to prompt complaints, while Democrats felt the President was trying to ask for too much in terms of immigration enforcement.
"Dreamers should not be held hostage to President Trump’s crusade to tear families apart and waste billions of American tax dollars on an ineffective wall," said Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), the lead Senate negotiator on immigration matters.
"This is another attack on immigrants that uses DREAMers as bargaining chips," said Rep. Dina Titus (D-NV).
Here is the immigration 'framework' as released by the White House:
THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 25, 2018
WHITE HOUSE FRAMEWORK ON IMMIGRATION REFORM & BORDER SECURITY
BORDER SECURITY: Securing the Southern and Northern border of the United States takes a combination of physical infrastructure, technology, personnel, resources, authorities, and the ability to close legal loopholes that are exploited by smugglers, traffickers, cartels, criminals and terrorists.
- The Department of Homeland Security must have the tools to deter illegal immigration; the ability to remove individuals who illegally enter the United States; and the vital authorities necessary to protect national security.
- These measures below are the minimum tools necessary to mitigate the rapidly growing surge of illegal immigration.
- $25 billion trust fund for the border wall system, ports of entry/exit, and northern border improvements and enhancements.
- Close crippling personnel deficiencies by appropriating additional funds to hire new DHS personnel, ICE attorneys, immigration judges, prosecutors and other law enforcement professionals.
- Hiring and pay reforms to ensure the recruitment and retention of critically-needed personnel.
- Deter illegal entry by ending dangerous statutorily-imposed catch-and-release and by closing legal loopholes that have eroded our ability to secure the immigration system and protect public safety.
- Ensure the detention and removal of criminal aliens, gang members, violent offenders, and aggravated felons.
- Ensure the prompt removal of illegal border-crossers regardless of country of origin.
- Deter visa overstays with efficient removal.
- Ensure synthetic drugs (fentanyl) are prevented from entering the country.
- Institute immigration court reforms to improve efficiency and prevent fraud and abuse.
DACA LEGALIZATION: Provide legal status for DACA recipients and other DACA-eligible illegal immigrants, adjusting the time-frame to encompass a total population of approximately 1.8 million individuals.
- 10-12 year path to citizenship, with requirements for work, education and good moral
- Clear eligibility requirements to mitigate fraud.
- Status is subject to revocation for criminal conduct or public safety and national security concerns, public charge, fraud, etc.
PROTECT THE NUCLEAR FAMILY: Protect the nuclear family by emphasizing close familial relationships.
- Promote nuclear family migration by limiting family sponsorships to spouses and minor children only (for both Citizens and LPRs), ending extended-family chain migration.
- Apply these changes prospectively, not retroactively, by processing the “backlog.”
ELIMINATE LOTTERY AND REPURPOSE VISAS: The Visa Lottery selects individuals at random to come to the United States without consideration of skills, merit or public safety.
This program is riddled with fraud and abuse and does not serve the national interest.
Eliminate lottery and reallocate the visas to reduce the family-based “backlog” and high-skilled employment “backlog.”