Leading Hispanic Democrats said Monday they’re so disappointed in President Trump’s new 70-point immigration enforcement plan that they’ll withhold support for must-pass legislation in Congress until lawmakers work out a better deal to protect illegal immigrants.
“They are not going to have Democrats to get them over the finish line on anything they need,” said Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham, chairwoman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.
She and fellow Democrats, on a conference call with reporters, said Mr. Trump’s demand for a border wall, a crackdown on sanctuary cities, more deportation agents and a rewrite of a number of loopholes that have allowed illegal immigrants to gain a foothold in the U.S. are all non-starters.
The lawmakers’ comments suggest reaching a deal on the 700,000 so-called Dreamers who were protected under the legally questionable Obama-era deportation amnesty will be extremely difficult.
Mr. Trump submitted his 70-point plan to Congress Sunday asking for major changes. He said he built the list with input from the departments and agencies that handle immigration every day, and the security enhancements and legal changes are things agents on the ground say would be helpful.
The White House said it wants to see those enhancements added to any Dreamer legalization bill, saying otherwise the country is setting itself up for another surge of illegal immigration.
Democrats, though, have said they want a “clean” bill that grants a full pathway to citizenship to as many as 2 million illegal immigrants who came to the U.S. as children.
They said they would be willing to accept small security enhancements, but the list they’re considering is paltry compared to Mr. Trump’s wish-list.
Ms. Grisham said she would accept more help for the Coast Guard and better-trained drug-sniffing dogs as add-ons.
The Democrats’ threat to withhold support could complicate the GOP’s efforts to get another spending bill done in December, as well as looming debates over government surveillance powers and a fight over the next increase in the government’s borrowing limit.