Trump offers DACA protections in exchange for border security funding
WASHINGTON (Sinclair Broadcast Group) -- In what he called a "major announcement," President Donald Trump laid out how he wanted to fund the border wall.
Trump gave specific numbers on how he wanted the more than $5 billion spent. He wants $805 million for improved drug detection technology at legal ports of entry. He wants part of that money to also fund more than 2,700 new border agents and 75 new immigration judge teams.
He said he wants another $800 million to fund "immediate humanitarian aid." The rest of the money would be spent on the physical barrier that would span 230 of the border, different from his "sea to shining sea" promise during the campaign.
To every member of Congress: Pass a bill that ends this crisis. To every citizen: Call Congress and tell them to finally, after all of these decades, secure our border. This is a choice between right and wrong, justice and injustice. This is about whether we fulfill our sacred duty to the American citizens we serve, Trump said.
Democrats, led by Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), were knocking the 'new' offer before they even heard the statement.
"Democrats were hopeful @realDonaldTrump was finally willing to re-open government & proceed with a much-needed discussion to protect the border. Unfortunately, reports make clear that his proposal is a compilation of previously rejected initiatives," Pelosi said on Twitter.
Trump also offered to extend protections for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) for three years, as well as an extension of the legal status of Temporary Protected Status holders.
"Provisional status will be granted for three years for current DACA recipients, covering 700,000 illegal immigrants brought here by their parents at a young age. This status will give them access to work permits, social security numbers, and protection from deportation. Provisional status will be granted to certain current TPS recipients for three years, providing 300,000 immigrants whose protected status is facing expiration more certainty as Congress works on a larger immigration deal," according to a letter sent by the White House press office.
"America faces an immediate humanitarian crisis from our unsecured border. According to a 2017 Doctors Without Borders Report, more than 30 percent of women are sexually assaulted on the trek to the border. On average, the United States Border Patrol refers approximately 50 individuals to a hospital or medical provider, including children who cross the border in need of medical attention. The number of families and unaccompanied children crossing the border illegally has grown dramatically in recent months. This past December, Border Patrol apprehended 32,284 families and unaccompanied children. Just six months prior, Border Patrol apprehended only 13,164 families and unaccompanied children," the letter also stated.
Trump says Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will bring the proposal for a vote in the Senate this week.