The National ICE Council sent a letter to President Donald Trump on Friday expressing its opposition to his administration’s proposed immigration plan.
The council, which endorsed Trump in the 2016 presidential election, argues against the White House’s four-point plan to address the issue of “dreamers” — illegal immigrants brought to the U.S. as children who were previously covered by the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
Trump’s plan provides a pathway to citizenship for DACA recipients and other illegal immigrants, while also setting aside billions of dollars in funding for security measures along the U.S.-Mexico border.
But according to ICE President Chris Crane, the plan doesn’t do enough to stop businesses from hiring illegal immigrants or crack down on sanctuary cities.
“We simply cannot in good faith support any legislative effort on immigration that does not include provisions regarding immigration detainers, sanctuary cities and the smuggling and trafficking of children across U.S. borders,” Crane wrote in the letter, according to The Washington Times.
“What you negotiate on immigration isn’t just a give and take negotiation,” the letter added, explaining that the proposed plan leaves “gaping holes” in ICE’s ability to protect the border.
“It sets the table for our nation’s immigration enforcement policies and strategy moving forward, and any critical enforcement measures bargained away potentially leaves gaping holes in law enforcement’s ability to provide for public safety and national security,” the letter reads.
Trump detailed his immigration plan last week in his State of the Union address.
Under the proposal, roughly 1.8 million illegal immigrants would essentially receive amnesty, but only if certain demands are met.
These demands include $25 billion for construction of a border wall and an end to the visa lottery and chain migration systems. Instead, Trump wants a merit-based program that prioritizes skilled immigrants who will contribute to American society.
As noted by The Times, Trump has touted the proposal as a compromise, with the White House saying that stronger enforcement measures will be implemented in the second phase of the plan.
Many Democrats, though, have rejected this proposal, arguing that the president is holding DACA recipients hostage.
Crane, on the other hand, thinks the immigration plan doesn’t go far enough. His organization, which represents 7,500 ICE employees, will not support amnesty for dreamers unless there is legislation that promises to immediately crack down on illegal immigration.
“We cannot and will not turn our backs on the victims of sanctuary cities and jurisdictions, and therefore cannot support any legislation that does not attempt to rectify this growing problem,” Crane wrote.
Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill have about a month to come up with a legislative solution to the DACA issue. Trump rescinded the Obama-era executive order in September 2017, giving Congress until March 5 to pass legislation addressing the fate of DACA recipients.
In the House of Representatives, many conservatives support an immigration bill put forward by Virginia GOP Rep Bob Goodlatte, the chairman of the Judiciary Committee.
That bill “would crack down on sanctuary cities, impose mandatory E-Verify on businesses, make it a crime to overstay a visitor’s visa and protect communities that cooperate in deportations,” The Times reported.
But in the Senate, it’s more difficult to rally support for hardline immigration legislation.
On Monday, Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona and Democrat Sen. Chris Coons of Delaware proposed a bill that would protect young illegal immigrants from deportation. The legislation also increases border security, though it does not specifically contain funding for a wall.
However, in a Monday morning tweet, Trump seemed to reject this proposal on the basis that it “does not include STRONG border security and the desperately needed WALL.”
“Any deal on DACA that does not include STRONG border security and the desperately needed WALL is a total waste of time. March 5th is rapidly approaching and the Dems seem not to care about DACA. Make a deal!” the president tweeted.
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