Speed Reads

immigration debate

Trump's immigration plan, designed to get 60 Senate votes, drops like a lead balloon

The White House released the outlines of its immigration proposal on Thursday, a day after President Trump spoiled the surprise, and Chief of Staff John Kelly and Trump's immigration adviser Stephen Miller briefed members of Congress. Miller told congressional staffers that the proposal — with a path to citizenship for up to 1.8 million young immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as children plus $25 billion for border security and a host of conservative immigration restrictions — was designed to get 60 votes in the Senate. The initial reaction in Congress wasn't great, and it was worse outside Congress.

On the right, Breitbart News called Trump "Amnesty Don," Heritage Action's Michael Needham said that "any proposal that expands the amnesty-eligible population risks opening Pandora's box" and "should be a nonstarter," and prominent immigration restrictionist Mark Krikorian said Trump "hasn't sold out his voters yet" but this proposal poses "a real potential for disaster." On the left, United We Dream's Greisa Martinez Rosas called the plan "a white supremacist ransom note" and the ACLU demised it as a "hateful, xenophobic immigration proposal that would slash legal immigration to levels not seen since the racial quotas of the 1920s."

"Put simply: It's dead on arrival," says Jonathan Swan at Axios, who spoke with progressive immigration leaders close to top Democrats. The $25 billion for the border wall "trust fund" is at least $15 billion too high, Swan reports, and "the increase of ICE agents, faster deportations, stronger interior enforcement, and the massive cuts to legal immigration" — by 40 to 50 percent, according to liberal immigration analysts — is even worse. They wonder why that's a good trade for an idea, protecting DREAMers, that has overwhelming public support, even among Republicans.