UPDATE — 10/21, 10:25 a.m. EDT: Speaking to Travis County and Texas state law enforcement officials on Friday in Austin, Attorney General Sessions openly criticized sanctuary cities and reiterated the Trump administration’s threat to withhold federal subsidies from jurisdictions which do not comply with immigration law.
The former Alabama senator also commented on DACA, pointing out that after the Obama administration enacted the policy in 2012 “the number of unaccompanied children coming here nearly doubled in one year. The next year, it doubled again.”
Following Sessions’ remarks, Travis County Sheriff Sally Hernandez said she does not support a state law enacted earlier in 2017 and subsequently struck down by a federal judge which compels local police to enforce federal immigration law.
The White House has unveiled a plan to solve America’s immigration problem which includes a large rewrite omitting loopholes in the law that illegal immigrants have taken advantage of in the past.
The 70-point outline includes President Trump’s call for a border wall, more deportation agents, stricter limits to chain migration and a crackdown on sanctuary cities.
In a letter Trump addressed to Congress, the president stated the policy’s priorities “must be included as part of any legislation addressing” DACA because without the changes, “illegal immigration and chain migration, which severely and unfairly burden American workers and taxpayers, will continue without end.”
Additionally, the list includes a point based merit system for green cards and only allows U.S. citizens to sponsor spouses and minors for permanent residency.
The administration’s plan would also end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which Trump threatened to end his first day in office during the 2016 campaign.
In September, plans were announced for DACA to be phased out. The program, which provides two-year work permits to “dreamers” — younger immigrants who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children — has been labeled “unconstitutional” by Trump.
Spokesman for Speaker Paul Ryan, Doug Andres, let it be known that House lawmakers would review Trump’s principles and continue talking to the administration about legislation.
“The administration can’t be serious about compromise or helping the Dreamers if they begin with a list that is anathema to the Dreamers, to the immigrant community and to the vast majority of Americans,” Democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer said in a statement.
“The list includes the wall, which was explicitly ruled out of the negotiations. If the president was serious about protecting the Dreamers, his staff has not made a good faith effort to do so.”
While advocates argue the White House’s “wish list” will protect American workers and taxpayers, the threat of expired DACA cards and a drastically lower ceiling for refugees in the upcoming fiscal year could turn dreams into nightmares for a new generation of immigrants.
[Washington Post] [Politico] [American-Statesman] [Wilfredo Lee/AP via NPR]