Trump’s immigration plan unites left and right in fury


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Media captionUndocumented immigrants: “Life in the US is like a rollercoaster”

US President’s Donald Trump’s plan to offer citizenship to undocumented migrants has pulled off the rare trick of uniting left and right – in outrage.

The White House has outlined a plan for nearly two million people to become citizens, in exchange for $25bn (£17.6bn) for a Mexico border wall.

Liberal activists called the deal “a white supremacist ransom note”. Conservatives slammed it as “pathetic”.

Trump-allied Breitbart News called him “Amnesty Don” in a headline.

What did immigration hawks say?

Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, which lobbies for fewer migrants, asked followers on Twitter to burn their Make America Great Hats, which Trump supporters wore during his campaign.

Ann Coulter, the author of the book In Trump We Trust, labelled it “a crap deal”.

“Impeachable if wall isn’t built and dedicated first, with speeches & balloons,” Ms Coulter added.

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Media captionCan US border agents lawfully search you?

Radio host Mark Levin called the plan “absolutely pathetic”.

“Ladies and gentlemen, we just gave up half the battlefield,” Mr Levin told listeners on Thursday night.

Kelli Ward, a Republican Senate candidate from the US border state of Arizona, told ABC News: “I respectfully and strongly disagree with the White House’s framework for immigration that they put out.”

After Mr Trump first suggested the idea of giving citizenship to some undocumented immigrants, Texas Senator Ted Cruz, told Bloomberg News: “I do not believe we should be granting a path to citizenship to anybody here illegally.”

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What’s the plan?

The framework seeks to curtail so-called chain migration, permitting US residents only to obtain residency visas for their spouse and children, not extended family members.

The White House also wants to scrap the diversity visa lottery, under which 50,000 people from around the world every year win Green Cards at random.

But the most eye-catching proposal sets out a 10-12-year path to citizenship for 1.8 million people.

This includes some 700,000 so-called Dreamers, immigrants who illegally entered the US as children and were protected from deportation under an Obama-era programme, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (Daca).

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The other 1.1 million would be immigrants who did not apply for Daca but are eligible for the scheme.

White House aide Stephen Miller told Republican senators this was “a dramatic concession”.

Mr Trump cancelled Daca last year and gave lawmakers until March to produce an alternative.

The other ‘Dreamers’ facing uncertain future

Congress’ failure to do so triggered a brief shutdown of the federal government last weekend.

On Friday, the Republican president posted a tweet blaming Democratic Senate leader Chuck Schumer for the ongoing impasse.

What have Democrats said?

The party’s Senate whip, Dick Durbin, said: “Dreamers should not be held hostage to President Trump’s crusade to tear families apart and waste billions of American tax dollars on an ineffective wall.”

United We Dream, a young immigrants’ organisation, called the White House plan “a white supremacist ransom note”.

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Media captionThe missing – consequences of Trump’s immigration crackdown

Immigration activist Eddie Vale called it a “legislative burning cross”, a reference to the Ku Klux Klan.

House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi called it “an act of staggering cowardice”.

Who reacted positively?

Arkansas Republican Senator Tom Cotton, one of the most conservative voices on immigration policy, said Mr Trump’s plan was “generous and humane”.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the proposal “indicates what is necessary for the president to sign a bill into law”.

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan said he believed Mr Trump’s ideas “will help us ultimately reach a balanced solution”.


More on Trump and immigration

What next for ‘Dreamers’?

What is the diversity green card lottery?

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