Trump to Latinos: ‘Push’ Democrats on DACA Fix
Fred Lucas /
President Donald Trump asked a gathering of Latino business owners to “push” Democratic members of Congress on his proposal to grant legal status to a subgroup of illegal immigrants in exchange for stronger border security.
“This is our time. This is our moment. Go get DACA,” Trump said in his remarks Wednesday to the Latino Coalition, gathered in Washington. “Go push those Democrats. I’m telling you. This is a moment for DACA, for all of us.”
DACA is a reference to the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy, which shields from deportation illegal immigrants brought to the United States as minors.
While fewer than 800,000 signed up for DACA protection, Trump has proposed expanding legal status to 1.8 million. However, he also wants a border wall, and a shift to a merit-based immigration based on skills to replace the current chain migration system based on family reunification.
“My administration submitted a balanced and responsible immigration reform plan to Congress,” Trump told the Latino gathering Wednesday. “Our plan fully secures the border, provides a permanent solution to DACA, which we’re really working on, and modernizes our immigration by ending extended family migration and the lottery system so we can eventually have a merit-based system where people can come in and work for your companies, work for you, and do a phenomenal job, people that love our country and that want to love our country and our people.”
Trump said 8 in 10 Latino voters support a merit-based system. A Harvard-Harris poll in January found near that—72 percent—of Hispanic voters backed a merit-based system.
“This is the mainstream view of all Americans, including Latinos,” Trump said. “Yet the Senate Democrats filibustered our plan because they don’t care about the immigration system or reform and they don’t want to solve the problem. They would rather use it to get elected. That’s not working so well, but we remain committed to immigration reform that protects our country, strengthens our economy, and lifts our workers from poverty to prosperity.”
A federal judge in Maryland ruled Tuesday in favor of the Trump administration in a lawsuit challenging the Justice Department’s ability to rescind the Obama-era program called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.
In February, the Senate killed four bills to legalize the status of that subpopulation of illegal immigrants, which supporters call “Dreamers.” Each bill would have needed 60 votes to move to a final vote without being blocked by a filibuster. Legislation backed by the president drew just 39 votes. A bipartisan bill co-sponsored by Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., failed by a 54-45 vote after Trump vowed to veto the measure.