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Donald Trump sends list of hard-line immigration policy principles to Congress

Donald Trump sends list of hard-line immigration policy principles to Congress

Trump announced plans last month to phase out the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, an Obama-era program that had provided two-year work permits that Trump called "unconstitutional". That may be the point.

Taking aim at long-standing legal immigration policies, Trump additionally called for an end to family-based immigration, which the administration claimed in a memo Sunday night is responsible for "most low-skilled immigration".

The administration is also calling for cutting off key federal grants for sanctuary cities, empowering state and local governments to enforce immigration law and requiring employers to use E-Verify, a workplace verification system that checks whether an employee can work legally in the United States.

Trump last month appeared to reach at least the broad outlines of a DACA deal with House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer in which he would agree to extend DACA protections in exchange for a package of border security measures.

Mr. Trump proposed ending extended-family chain migration by limiting family-based green cards to spouses and minor children and replace it with a merit-based system that prioritises skills and economic contributions over family connections.

82 percent of US voters, including 69 percent of Republicans, want Dreamers to be able to stay in the country and apply for citizenship, a Quinnipiac poll found late last month. They said the deal did not include funding for a wall, which Democrats have repeatedly said is a non-starter.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson also expressed support for the proposals, saying in a statement they would end vulnerabilities in the immigration system that hinder national security efforts. That is a fundamental shift from today's focus on family-based migration.

"This proposal fails to represent any attempt at compromise", their statement said."The list includes the wall, which was explicitly ruled out of the negotiations".

Immigrants' rights advocates went further.

The new proposals, which also included southern border walls, tougher asylum rules, a crackdown on minors brought illegally from Central America, were in the nature of conditions set by the administration in return for legalizing almost 700,000 undocumented immigrants called Dreamers. Marielena Hincapié, the executive director of the National Immigration Law Center, wrote on Twitter, "When you make an offer you know the other side simply can not agree to, it is evidence that you don't actually want a deal".

Roy Beck, president of NumbersUSA, argued that Trump's immigration principles put American workers first and would fulfill the vision he laid out as a candidate previous year. He was so delighted with the press he got from his three-month budget and debt-ceiling extension (at the expense of Republicans) that he called Pelosi to share the reviews, at which time she got him to tweet reassuring messages to DACA recipients.

A week later he asked if anyone really wants to throw out to "throw out good, educated and accomplished young people who have jobs".

They accused Mr Trump of backtracking on a commitment not to include the border wall in negotiations over the status of young immigrants, who are mostly from Mexico and other Latin American countries. He said that Trump "has never wavered from his xenophobic positions" and added that "what they want to do is criminalize and delegitimize Latinos".

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