During a call with reporters, a senior administration official also said the administration is “not interested in granting citizenship” in a DACA deal.
The administration’s asks are the culmination of Trump’s campaign pledges to crack down on immigration—and a response to simmering frustrations among advocates of reduced immigration. Indeed, the plan satisfies many of the requests made by immigration hardliners at the start of the Trump presidency, but in doing so, also throws a wrench in attempts to come to an agreement on legislation to provide legal status to young undocumented immigrants.
Stephen Miller, a senior policy adviser and a supporter of hardline immigration reform, reportedly began working on a proposal, after Democratic leaders, Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi, announced they had come to an agreement on DACA with Trump. In September, the administration said that it would rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which shielded undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children from deportation and allowed them to work legally in the country, with a six-month delay in response to pressures from state attorneys general. The negotiations thereafter, which included enhanced border security in exchange for DACA legislation, infuriated immigration restrictionists, who see enforcement alone as low-hanging fruit.
“We would absolutely not support anything—nor do we think our activists would support—a DACA amnesty for enforcement,” Chris Chmielenski, the director of content and activism at NumbersUSA, which advocates for reduced immigration, told me.
“When I see these principles, it’s nothing but a menu of options that obviously the president campaigned on but is by no means representative of a fair deal or bargain when comes to the DREAM Act,” said Juan Escalante, the digital campaigns manager at America’s Voice and a DACA recipient, adding that “if there’s going to be a negotiation, it has to be something that doesn’t raise the stakes on the parents of Dreamers and the immigrant community at large.”
The White House’s proposal also appears to include elements of the RAISE Act, which Trump publicly supported in August. The proposal calls for ending “extended-family chain migration by limiting family-based green cards to spouses and minor children” replacing it with what it describes as “a merit-based system that prioritizes skills and economic contributions over family connections.”