- The Washington Times - Saturday, January 19, 2019

President Trump’s new immigration proposal Saturday marked a retreat on three different areas of policy, in what the White House said was a “good-faith” effort to try to break the gridlock that for more than a decade has thwarted every effort to strike a compromise on the thorny issue.

In each of those areas — the Obama-era DACA program, Temporary Protected Status and a new path for asylum for children in Central America — Mr. Trump has actually canceled the Obama administration’s initiatives.

On Saturday he embraced restoring them and writing them into law, giving them a permanency Mr. Obama could never win.

In exchange, he’s asking for $5.7 billion for his border wall-building plans, as well as changes to make it easier to deport illegal immigrant families, cutting down on abuses of the asylum system — both items he’s long sought.

And he also proposed items both sides generally agree on, such as more technology to scan for drugs in vehicles at legal border crossings, and a boost in the number of immigration judges to cut into the backlog of cases.



“Today represents a compromise offer,” Vice President Mike Pence told reporters.


SEE ALSO: Trump offers immigration compromise to Democrats for wall funding in bid to end shutdown


The DACA embrace is a major change, with Mr. Trump just days ago saying he didn’t want to do anything until the Supreme Court had a chance to decide on his 2017 attempt to phase out the deportation amnesty that’s currently protecting about 700,000 “Dreamers.” Lower courts have split on that phaseout, leaving its future unclear. Mr. Trump proposed writing the DACA program into law for those already using it, giving them a guaranteed three years of protections.

Mr. Pence said Mr. Trump has now been “persuaded this is the right thing to do, now.”

On TPS, the Homeland Security Department has signaled an end to the protection for as many as 300,000 people, some of them who’ve been protected for two decades by a program that, as its name suggests, was supposed to be temporary.

The White House in immigration negotiations last year had resisted adding TPS holders into any deal, but that resistance has dissipated — indeed, TPS was the issue that sparked Mr. Trump’s harsh comments about those countries last year, when Democrats say he called Haiti and Central American nations “s–hole” countries.

Mr. Pence on Saturday said Mr. Trump “readily” embraced adding the TPS deal into his proposal this time.

The Trump administration in 2017 also canceled the Obama administration’s Central American Minor program, which was designed to give children looking to get asylum in the U.S. a chance to apply from their home countries, rather than have to make the dangerous trek north.

The program drew slim participation and it was nixed — drawing serious criticism from Democrats who said the president was forcing people to take the dangerous journey.

In his new proposal Mr. Trump is proposing re-starting the CAM program, this time with the full protections of law rather than an executive action.

In exchange for those reversals in his own stance, Mr. Trump is asking for $5.7 billion to build 230 miles of new barriers along the U.S.-Mexico border, as well as changes to make it easier to deport illegal immigrant families, cutting down on abuses of the asylum system — both items he’s sought.

The deal also includes items both sides generally agree on, such as more technology to scan for drugs in vehicles at legal border crossings, and a boost in the number of immigration judges to cut into the backlog of cases.

The Senate, led by Republicans, is slated to vote on Mr. Trump’s plans next week.

But House Democrats are unlikely to go along. Speaker Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, rejected the president’s proposal, saying she’ll have her chamber vote instead on those few areas of overall agreement such as the immigration judges and scanning technology.

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