By Jill Colvin, Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump has unveiled a long list of immigration priorities he says must be included as part of any legislative package extending protections for young immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as children. What the president is demanding from Congress:
—Construct a wall along the southern border; increase security on the northern border.
—Make it easier to deport unaccompanied minor children caught crossing the border. The U.S. experienced a surge of border crossings by children fleeing violence in countries like El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras in 2014. Federal officials place the vast majority of those children with family members in the U.S. who care for the minors while they await immigration hearings. The administration argues that the current system has created “a dramatic pull factor” that encourages people to send their children to the U.S.
—Overhaul the asylum system, imposing more stringent eligibility requirements and new penalties for fraud.
—Hire 370 more immigration judges and 1,000 more U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement attorneys to clear a backlog of more than 600,000 immigration cases.
—Make it harder for gang members and others with criminal records to immigrate to the U.S.
—Increase penalties for people who repeatedly enter the country illegally.
—Expand expedited removal, a process through which non-citizens are expelled from the country without going through the usual removal procedures, including a hearing before an immigration judge. Under current rules, immigrants who are detained within 100 miles of the border and who have been in the country for less than 14 days can be deported immediately, without being processed through immigration courts.
—Overhaul the green-card system so that it favors high-skilled workers over those who have family ties to the U.S. According to the Trump administration, the current immigration system “prioritizes extended family-based chain migration over skills-based immigration and does not serve the national interest.”
—Introduce a point-based green-card system that prioritizes highly educated workers with high-paying job offers.
—Limit family-based green cards to spouses and minor children.
—Eliminate the diversity visa lottery that was designed to welcome immigrants from countries with low rates of immigration to the U.S.
—Limit refugee admissions. (The president has the authority to set the refugee cap and has already reduced it to a record low.)
—Increase penalties against “sanctuary cities” that refuse to cooperate and share information with federal immigration authorizes, including blocking them from receiving certain federal grants.
—Authorize and incentivize state and local governments to help enforce federal immigration laws and pass their own immigration legislation.
—Hire 10,000 more ICE officers and 300 more federal prosecutors.
—Crack down on people who overstay their visas.
—Require employers to use the employment eligibility verification system (E-Verify) to ensure workers are legally allowed to work in the U.S. Expand the definition of unlawful employment discrimination to include “the displacement of U.S. workers by nonimmigrant workers.”
—Broaden the grounds for deportation to include gang membership.
—Improve visa security.