President Donald Trump is set to back an immigration plan that provides a path to citizenship for as many as 1.8 million undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children in exchange for $25 billion to pay for a wall and enhanced security, according to White House officials.
Congress will be asked to provide billions in funding for a wall on the southern border, a Trump campaign promise, and the deal will also call for an end to both chain migration and the diversity visa lottery.
According to the framework provided by the White House, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients would receive a “10- to 12-year path to citizenship” coupled with “requirements for work, education and good moral character.”
The immigration framework, which will be presented to Congress next week, has been generally well received by Republicans. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said Thursday: “We’re grateful for the president showing leadership on this issue and believe his ideas will help us ultimately reach a balanced solution.”
“The president’s framework is generous and humane, while also being responsible,” Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) said in a statement Thursday. “It protects those eligible for DACA, who are here through no fault of their own. But it also will prevent us from ending up back here in five years by securing the border and putting an end to extended-family chain migration.”
Erick Erickson, a leading conservative voice, said, “The president’s immigration plan, as outlined by the White House, is entirely reasonable and responsible and supportable.”
Speaking about “Dreamers,” the president told reporters Wednesday: “If they do a great job, I think it’s a nice thing to have the incentive of, after a period of years, being able to become a citizen.”
However, fringe members of the president’s base have already turned on Trump following the immigration framework announcement.
“Not only did Trump today say he’s fine with amnesty for illegals. Today, he also said he’s perfectly fine with a pathway to citizenship for illegals,” conservative radio host and ex-Congressman Joe Walsh tweeted. “That’s not what he said during the campaign.”
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) also took a swipe at the president for his stance on “Dreamers,” stating, “I do not believe we should be granting a path to citizenship to anybody here illegally.”