Mon, Jan 21, 2019 - Page 1 News List

Trump plan to end shutdown panned by opponents, right


US President Donald Trump proposes temporary protections for some undocumented immigrants in return for border wall funding at the White House in Washington on Saturday.

Photo: EPA-EFE

US President Donald Trump on Saturday offered a proposal to extend protections for so-called “Dreamers” for three years in exchange for his demanded US$5.7 billion toward a border wall as a way to reopen the federal government.

US Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has pledged to bring a bill to the US Senate this week, Trump said in a 13-minute televised address from the White House in which he emphasized that parts of his plan had been supported by Democrats in the past.

However, top Democrats, including US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi, rejected the plan earlier on Saturday, and conservative voices chimed in to attack Trump’s offer of relief for Dreamers — young people brought to the US illegally as children — in exchange for funding for border security.

McConnell said in an e-mailed statement that he intends to move legislation this week.

“With bipartisan cooperation, the Senate can send a bill to the House quickly so that they can take action as well,” McConnell said.

Trump portrayed his offer as a way to end a partial government shutdown now into its fifth week, the longest in modern history.

Opinion polls this month have consistently shown that Americans blame Trump and Republican lawmakers more than Democrats for the shutdown.

“I’m here today to break the logjam and provide Congress with a path forward,” Trump said in an unusual Saturday appearance from the White House.

Much of Trump’s speech had the same hard-edged tone as his Oval Office address earlier in the month. He spoke in dark terms of migrant women being raped on their journey through Mexico to the US border, and tied illegal immigrants to crime and drugs.

As indicated earlier, the plan outlined by Trump includes three years of legislative relief for 700,000 Dreamers — which would make available to those individuals work permits, Social Security numbers and protection from deportation — and a three-year extension of Temporary Protected Status affecting about 300,000 individuals from various countries.

In return, Trump again requested US$5.7 billion for a “strategic deployment of physical barriers” at the US-Mexico border.

The wall would not stretch from sea to sea, he said, but would be strategic and in selected locations, including 185km under construction or under contract, and 370km more this year.

Earlier, Pelosi said Trump’s proposals were “a non-starter.”

“Initial reports make clear that his proposal is 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,” Pelosi said in a statement.

US Senator Dick Durbin, a Democrat, earlier said that he cannot support the proposed offer as reported and also does not believe it can pass the US Senate.

Ann Coulter, an influential conservative commentator, tweeted that “100 miles of border wall in exchange for amnestying millions of illegals. So if we grant citizenship to a BILLION foreigners, maybe we can finally get a full border wall.”

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