President Trump offered Democrats a bipartisan opening on immigration in his State of the Union address Tuesday night, saying he’s willing to work with them to legalize illegal immigrant “Dreamers,” but Americans cannot be left behind.
“Americans are dreamers too,” the president said.
Mr. Trump repeated his four-pillar approach to immigration negotiations, saying he is prepared to offer citizenship rights to 1.8 million illegal immigrants who came to the U.S. as children — nearly three times more people than the Obama administration protected under its DACA deportation amnesty.
But he said that must be linked with a border wall, hiring more Border Patrol and interior enforcement agents, and other changes, such as ending the catch-and-release policy that sees so many illegal immigrants detained then released.
“For over 30 years, Washington has tried and failed to solve this problem. This Congress can be the one that finally makes it happen,” Mr. Trump said.
Democrats seemed unreceptive, refusing to applaud the president’s outline and booing or hissing several of his claims, including his assertion that a single immigrant can “bring in virtually unlimited numbers of distant relatives.”
The chain of family migration extents to an immigrant’s spouse, children, parents and siblings.
Mr. Trump has proposed limiting that to spouses and minor children.
The Democratic National Committee said Mr. Trump had “lied” about the extent and potential dangers of legal immigration programs.
Dozens of Dreamers were in the chamber to watch the speech. As Mr. Trump left, one young man — apparently one of the Dreamers — asked him if he would accept a “clean Dream Act.” That’s a bill that would grant young adult illegal immigrants a pathway to citizenship without any additional border security or immigration policy changes attached.
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