WASHINGTON – US President Donald Trump’s vision of immigration reform includes a wall extending the length of the border with Mexico and a merit-based system of granting visas, according to a document sent to Congress on Sunday to which EFE obtained exclusive access.
The proposal also calls for increasing the fees paid by visa applicants to fund improvements to border security.
Other provisions would expedite the repatriation of unaccompanied minors from Central America who enter the United States without authorization and eliminate what the Trump administration views as the “abuse” of the asylum system.
To improve immigration enforcement, the president wants Congress to approve money for the hiring of an additional 10,000 Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents and 300 new federal prosecutors.
Trump, according to the document seen by EFE, is ready to work with Congress to achieve three objectives: ensuring that immigration is safe and legal; defending national security; and “protecting US workers and taxpayers.”
Regarding the controversial initiative for a physical barrier on the US-Mexico border, the president believes that “the complete construction of the wall is imperative,” a senior White House official told EFE on condition of anonymity.
Democrats in Congress are adamantly opposed to the wall and even some of Trump’s fellow Republicans are less than enthusiastic about the idea.
The document, without mentioning any figures, suggests limiting the number of Green Cards issued to spouses and minor children of legal residents in favor of establishing a points system for people seeking permanent residence in the US.
Trump spoke out in August in support of a bill submitted by Republican Sens. Tom Cotton and David Perdue to reduce legal immigration to half the current level by gradually restricting the issuance of Green Cards over the course of a decade.
The request for financing to beef-up ICE is because “we simply don’t have the tools” to enforce immigration laws, the senior official told EFE.
The proposal sent to Congress on Sunday makes no specific mention of the search for a legislative solution to the plight of the nearly 800,000 undocumented young people who benefited from the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which Trump is ending.
Trump has discussed a possible DACA fix with the leaders of the Democratic minority in Congress, Sen. Chuck Schumer and Rep. Nancy Pelosi.
The senior White House official told EFE that the White House would like to see Congress pass a bill for DACA recipients “as soon as possible.”