President Donald Trump appears to make an end run around the traditional impasse Congress reaches in talks around immigration as the White House issues its own proposal. Under the president’s proposal, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program extends to 1.8 million individuals and more than doubles the number of current DACA beneficiaries.
In the statement, the president proposes expanding the time frame currently surrounding DACA-eligible individuals to “encompass a total population of approximately 1.8 million individuals.” Along with increasing the pool of individuals eligible for legal status through DACA, other elements of the president’s plan include:
- Offer a 10- to 12-year path to citizenship with requirements around work, education and good moral character.
- Mitigate fraud using clear-cut eligibility requirements.
- Revoke legal status for those found guilty of criminal conduct, endangering public safety, promoting national security concerns, excessive public assistance, fraud, etc.
Current estimates of the DACA program put approximately 800,000 individuals as beneficiaries of the status. While the president’s proposal no doubt offers welcome relief to around 1 million undocumented people in the country, the plan still falls short for the generically-termed Dreamer demographic as a whole.
According to a USA Today report, 3.6 million individuals fall into the Dreamer demographic– those who came to the United States prior to turning age 18. Under this rubric, President Trump’s proposal still falls short by leaving half of the group without recourse in gaining legal status.
The president also proposes the elimination so-called chain migration, which allows extended family relationships as an immigration basis. Instead, the president limits family-based sponsorships to spouses and minor children. The proposal applies to both green card holders and U.S. citizens and, if enacted, applies as immigration officials process current and future applications.
The president’s proposed revamp of the immigration system also includes the elimination of the Visa Lottery and repurpose visas. The lottery, which “selects individuals at random to come to the United States without consideration of skills, merit or public safety” is “riddled with fraud and abuse and does not serve the national interest.” With the elimination of the lottery and the reallocation of visas, a reduction in backlogs around “family-based” and “high-skilled” applications follow.
Besides the functionality of the U.S. immigration system, the president also addresses northern and southern border security as a paramount issue. Essentially, the president outlines minimum sufficient resource allocation for human, physical and technological border security.