The White House’s hardline enforcement demands have altered the immigration debate on Capitol Hill, raising real questions about the prospects of a bipartisan deal to protect hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants brought to the country as children.
The new demands from President Trump, crafted by hardliners in the White House, have Democrats questioning the administration’s commitment to securing a bipartisan deal to help the young immigrants, commonly known as “Dreamers.”
Democrats responded with shock to the new set of immigration principles, released Sunday night, which includes proposals Democrats had previously labeled as non-starters, but also new ideas that are anathema to progressive views on immigration.
Among the previously known non-starters were border wall funding and increased interior enforcement. But the White House also asked for a drastic reduction in legal migration and changes to asylum law that could have would-be asylum seekers returned to their home countries without staking their claim.
Members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC), which House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) has tasked with “taking the lead” on immigration, said the values reflected in the policy document were those of senior White House Advisor Stephen Miller, a hardliner on immigration policy who has long opposed the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
They’re voicing concerns that Miller, 32, and other conservatives within the administration want to sink any new DACA protections even as Trump urges Congress to safeguard enrollees.
Castro, the CHC Vice-Chairman, called Miller a “30-year-old zealot,” and said the White House document is “a Breitbart Christmas list of anti-immigrant policies.”
He added that the policy document is a “non-starter in Congress” that’s “dead on arrival,” and said the White House “hasn’t been able to pass significant legislation in Trump’s term because they aren’t willing to work with anyone.”
The proposal puts at risk Democratic cooperation with Trump on any number of issues, including…