The White House is asking for full funding for the border wall, new authority to prevent another surge of illegal immigrant children and restrictions on so-called sanctuary cities all be included in any bill to grant legal status to illegal immigrant Dreamers.
President Trump’s proposal, sent Friday to Capitol Hill, instantly roiled the debate, with Sen. Richard Durbin — Democrats’ chief negotiator in the discussions — saying his party was prepared to risk a government shutdown to avoid giving in to the president’s demands.
The Homeland Security Department has specifically asked for authorization to build about $18 billion worth of new fencing on the border, sending long-awaited details of the plan to Capitol Hill.
And the department reiterated that Mr. Trump’s October list of priorities must be part of the discussion. That list included the crackdown on sanctuary cities, new authority to reject bogus asylum applications and to quickly kick out new illegal immigrants, and a change in the current patterns of family-based chain migration.
“Effective border security will not be successful unless we close dangerous legal loopholes that enable illegal immigration and visa overstays. If these loopholes are not closed, and enforcement capabilities are not enhanced, our immigration system and border cannot be secured,” Benjamin L Cassidy, an assistant secretary at Homeland Security, said in a letter released by Mr. Durbin.
Mr. Durbin said those proposals were non-starters.
“President Trump has said he may need a good government shutdown to get his wall. With this demand, he seems to be heading in that direction,” Mr. Durbin said.
He said Democrats would consider “reasonable border security measures,” but said the list sent over by the administration Friday was “outrageous.”
Mr. Durbin said he’ll continue to negotiate with Sen. Lindsey Graham and other Republicans willing to work with him.
Immigrant-rights groups were furious at the report that Mr. Trump envisions a $18 billion in new fencing along the southwest border, and some also said they don’t want to see any more Border Patrol agents added to the force.
• Stephen Dinan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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