World, Americas

Trump offers expanded migrant protections for wall

Democrats reject proposal even before formal rollout, continuing to oppose money for border wall

Michael Hernandez   | 20.01.2019
Trump offers expanded migrant protections for wall

Washington DC

By Michael Hernandez

WASHINGTON

President Donald Trump offered Democrats Saturday expanded temporary legal protections for some migrant groups in exchange for the $5.7 billion he is seeking to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border as he sought a way out from the ongoing government shutdown. 

Addressing the country from the White House, Trump said the new plan includes three years of legislative relief for DACA recipients, and an extension of temporary protections for other migrants groups who fled their countries due to violence or natural disasters.

Trump said the new plan, which includes roughly $1.6 billion in funding for drug detection technology and humanitarian assistance funds, will be brought to a vote next week by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. 

It also creates a pathway for Central American children to apply for U.S. asylum from their countries of origin, and boosts the number of immigration judges and law enforcement agents. 

"This is a common-sense compromise both parties should embrace," the president said from the Diplomatic Reception Room. "Both sides in Washington must simply come together, listen to each other, put down their armor, build trust, reach across the aisle, and find solutions."

But it is unlikely to sway enough Democrats who continue to resist any funding for the wall Trump said on the campaign trail he would have Mexico pay for. 

Even prior to the formal rollout House Speaker Nancy Pelosi rejected Trump's offer, calling it "a compilation of several previously rejected initiatives, each of which is unacceptable and in total, do not represent a good faith effort to restore certainty to people’s lives."

"It is unlikely that any one of these provisions alone would pass the House, and taken together, they are a non-starter," she said in a statement. 

It is unclear if changing the temporary protections for people who were brought to this country illegally as children -- DACA recipients who are otherwise known as "Dreamers" -- to make them permanent would sway enough Democrats to allow the bill to clear the federal legislature. 

Trump has worked alongside McConnell to ensure any bill to reopen the government that does not include his border wall funding does not make it through the Republican-held Senate.

The partial government shutdown is now on day 29, and polls indicate the majority of Americans place blame for the budget impasse squarely with the president and his legislative allies. 

Roughly 800,000 federal employees have either not been working or have been working without pay during the shutdown, which is the longest in U.S. history.

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