Spotlight: Trump's warning against "chain migration" new bump for talks on immigration legislation

Source: Xinhua| 2017-09-16 04:39:04|Editor: Mu Xuequan
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WASHINGTON, Sept. 15 (Xinhua) -- U.S. President Donald Trump suggested Friday that he would not endorse any immigration bill that includes "chain migration," signaling a new bump for negotiations about a deal to protect young undocumented immigrants.

"Chain migration cannot be allowed to be part of any legislation on Immigration!" Trump tweeted on Friday morning.

The term "chain migration" refers to a process that allows foreign nationals immigrating to a new country under laws permitting their reunion with their family members already living in the destination country.

In the United States, a fraction of green cards are issued annually based on family connections, including spouses, children and some extended family members, a practice that conservative organizations have warned against.

Trump's remarks came only two days after top congressional Democratic leaders claimed they discussed a tentative agreement with the president over how to deal with roughly 800,000 young undocumented immigrants, the so-called Dreamers, illegally brought to the country as children.

But Trump said Thursday "no deal" was made during a dinner meeting with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), a program initiated by the previous administration with executive authority to protect Dreamers from deportation.

"Massive border security would have to be agreed to in exchange for consent," Trump said in a series of tweets early Thursday. "The wall, which is already under construction in the form of new renovation of old and existing fences and walls, will continue to be built."

"We're working on a plan. We'll see how it works out," Trump told reporters Thursday as he was leaving for storm-ravaged Florida to survey damage. "We're going to get massive border security as part of that."

Trump's tweets and remarks contradicted with a joint statement by Schumer and Pelosi, who claimed to have reached a deal with the president to "enshrine the protections of DACA into law quickly, and to work out a package of border security, excluding the wall, that's acceptable to both sides."

The pair of Democratic leaders admitted "there was no final deal" but insisted that "both sides agreed that the wall would not be any part of this agreement."

Analysts said Trump's tweet about chain migration could throw a wrench in negotiations over a potential immigration deal with Democrats.

A pathway to citizenship given to Dreamers would inevitably allow some to sponsor their families, including their undocumented parents, who, in many cases, brought them to the country in an illegal way, if rules of chain migration still stand.

Trump said Thursday in Florida he was not looking at "citizenship" or "amnesty" for Dreamers, but suggested the discussion is about "taking care of people" after conservative critics accused him of supporting "amnesty" by softening his hardline positon on immigration.

It would be the largest amnesty in U.S. history if DACA and chain migration are combined, the Federation for American Immigration Reform, an anti-immigrant group, warned in a tweet Friday.

Last week, Trump announced an end to the DACA program amid roundly opposition and protests staged by immigration advocates.

Trump gave Congress six months to act in legalizing the program and reforming the country's immigration system. Earlier, he endorsed a bill designed to cap legal migrants and adopt a merit-based immigration system that emphasize skills over family ties.

It was Trump's campaign promise to crack down on illegal immigration, end DACA, and reduce legal immigration. The president is facing great pressure from his supporting base as some voters believe he's backing off those promises.