President Donald Trump is holding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals bill hostage unless Democrats in Congress agree to pay for his border wall.
“The Democrats have been told, and fully understand, that there can be no DACA without the desperately needed WALL at the Southern Border and an END to the horrible Chain Migration & ridiculous Lottery System of Immigration etc,” Trump tweeted Friday. “We must protect our Country at all cost!”
The Democrats have been told, and fully understand, that there can be no DACA without the desperately needed WALL at the Southern Border and an END to the horrible Chain Migration & ridiculous Lottery System of Immigration etc. We must protect our Country at all cost!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 29, 2017
Earlier this year, Trump signed an executive order to eliminate President Obama’s order to allow 800,000 people who were brought to the United States illegally as children to avoid deportation. He has signaled that he is open to signing a bill passed by Congress to preserve the program, but the bill has been punted down the road repeatedly and now Trump is putting the hundreds of thousands of Dreamers at risk unless he gets his wall.
It’s unclear how much Trump is willing to do for Dreamers. He said earlier this year that there will be no “citizenship” or “amnesty” for those eligible, but his administration is “looking at allowing people to stay here.”
“If we don’t have the wall, we are doing nothing,” he said.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he will put the bill to a vote if an agreement is reached.
“If negotiators reach an agreement on these matters by the end of January, I will bring it to the Senate floor for a free-standing vote,” he said.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer warned in August that “Dreamers are not a bargaining chip for the border wall and inhumane deportation force. Period.”
Dreamers are not a bargaining chip for the border wall and inhumane deportation force. Period. https://t.co/XZskvADFyJ
— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) August 22, 2017
Trump previously agreed to a deal with Schumer and House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi to protect Dreamers in exchange for tougher border security but no wall. After coming under criticism from conservatives, Trump pulled out of the deal.
Democrats have said they are completely opposed to funding the border wall. Republicans, too, have not pressed for a wall, favoring funding for “border security” instead.
Trump is also seeking to get rid of so-called chain migration, which allows people in the United States to bring their immediate family to the country.
He also wants to scrap the visa lottery system, which allots 50,000 visas to nations who have a low immigration rate to the United States.
“Without these reforms, illegal immigration and chain migration, which severely and unfairly burden American workers and taxpayers, will continue without end,” Trump said in October.
But while Trump thinks the wall and the immigration changes would be a big win for him, the numbers show a different story.
According to a Public Policy Polling survey, 66 percent of Americans support DACA while just 37 percent support his border wall.