White House DACA Plan Includes Path To Citizenship For 1.8 Million ‘Dreamers’

Will Racke | Immigration and Foreign Policy Reporter

A White House immigration framework set to be introduced next week includes a path to citizenship for roughly 1.8 million younger illegal immigrants, a top administration official said Thursday.

The plan outlines the Trump administration’s wish list for a bill to replace the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, an Obama-era executive amnesty act that shielded from deportation roughly 790,000 illegal immigrants brought to the U.S. as children.

In exchange for a path to citizenship — what immigration hawks would call amnesty — the White House is asking for $25 billion to fully fund the border wall, an end to chain migration and ending the visa lottery system. The provisions were outlined in a conference call between a top White House aide and House Republican staff, according to Politico.

Based on President Donald Trump’s previously released demands for a DACA compromise bill, the plan contains two big-ticket reforms: killing the the green card lottery and limiting family visas to spouses and minor children. The framework also calls for standardizing treatment of undocumented immigrants, regardless of country of origin; expediting the deportation of visa overstays, and hiring more border patrol agents, immigration judges, and prosecutors.

But the number of younger illegal immigrants to be covered by the proposal is far higher than the number that received DACA protections. That provision was included as a measure to win Democratic support in the Senate, where a bill has to clear a 60-vote threshold to make it to the president’s desk.

“That is a very dramatic concession from the White House that should ensure 60 votes for the framework,” the White House official said.

Democrats have been seeking a bill that covers DACA recipients, and as many as 2 million similarly situated illegal immigrants who did not apply or did not qualify for the Obama amnesty. The White House proposal appears to be an effort to split the difference between the Democratic demand and a conservative immigration reform bill from House Republicans, which was limited to roughly 700,000 existing DACA beneficiaries.

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