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White House unveils proposal to give citizenship to 1.8 mn undocumented immigrants

The plan is expected to meet a key demand of Democrats who had blocked a short-term funding bill last week, forcing a three-day partial shutdown of the federal government.

world Updated: Jan 26, 2018 23:07 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Washington
White House,immigration,DACA
Protesters during a demonstration against US President Donald Trump during a rally in support of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), also known as Dream Act, near the Trump Tower in New York. (AFP File)

The White House has unveiled a new proposal that offers a path to citizenship to 1.8 million undocumented immigrant brought to the United States as children, in exchange for funding for some of President Donald Trump’s hardline steps such as a border wall and end to family-based immigration.

The plan offers citizenship to more than twice the number that has been spoke off in ongoing negotiations — around 690,000, with an estimated 8,000 from India. It is expected to meet a key demand of Democrats who had blocked a short-term funding bill last week forcing a three-day partial shut down of the federal government.

In return, the president is seeking $25 billion to be set aside in a “trust fund” for a wall along the border with Mexico and other measures to boost border security, and replacing family-based immigration with a merit-based system that he had spoken about for long, and brought up in his speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

Despite doubling the number of Dreamers — as the undocumented immigrants brought as children are called, the proposal elicited derision from Democrats.

“It would be far cheaper to erect a 50-foot concrete statue of a middle finger and point it towards Latin America,” Congressman Luis V Guetierrez tweeted.

“Both a wall and the statue would be equally offensive and equally ineffective and both would express Trump’s deeply held suspicion of Latinos.”

Republicans largely welcomed the proposal.

White House aides have said the president hopes these proposals could form the framework of a legislation the Republican leadership would table in the Senate before the current short-term spending bill expires on February 8 and a new one is negotiated.

First Published: Jan 26, 2018 23:07 IST