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President Trump Unveils 70-Point Immigration Enforcement Plan to Congress

On October 8, 2017, President Donald Trump submitted a 70-point enforcement plan to Congress proposing strict immigration reform – including a massive rewrite of the law in order to eliminate loopholes illegal immigrants have exploited to gain a foothold in the U.S.

The plans include President Trump’s calls for a border wall, more deportation agents, a crackdown on sanctuary cities and stricter limited to chain migration. These are all issues the White House says need to be part of any bill Congress passes in order to legalize illegal immigrant “Dreamers” protected by the Obama-era deportation amnesty known as DACA.

The list includes 27 different suggestions on border security, 39 improvements to interior enforcement and four major changes to the legal immigration system. The White House stated that the list was built from the ground up, with input from the Justice, State and Labor Departments and the three main immigration agencies at Homeland Security, each of whom was asked what tools they needed to finally get a handle on illegal immigration.

The principles include an overhaul of the asylum system, including tougher penalties for asylum fraud, and speedier deportations for unaccompanied minors who arrive at the border. Current laws allow migrant children from countries other than Canada or Mexico to stay in the United States, usually with a sponsor, until they can get a hearing in immigration court, a process which can take years.

The administration is also calling for cutting off key federal grants for sanctuary cities, empowering state and local governments to enforce immigration law and requiring employers to use E-Verify, a workplace verification system that checks whether an employee can work legally in the United States. Such policies that beef up interior enforcement are deal-breakers for Democrats and were previously thought to have been ruled out at Trump’s dinner last month with Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).

Trump also wants 370 new judges to oversee immigration cases, as well as 1,000 additional attorneys at Immigration and Customs Enforcement and 10,000 more ICE agents to ramp up deportation efforts. The list also calls for an overhaul of the legal immigration system by allowing U.S. citizens to sponsor only spouses and minor children for permanent residency and creating a points based merit system for green cards. 

The administration also wants lawmakers to end the diversity visa lottery – which issues visas to immigrants from countries traditionally underrepresented in the United States – and to set the ceiling for refugees “at an appropriate level.” The White House plans to limit the number of refugees in fiscal year 2018 to 45,000 – the lowest it has been since at least 1980.

Berardi Immigration Law will continue to monitor this plan closely and will be sure to provide our clients with accurate and up-to-date information. Be sure to subscribe to our blog for more immigration news!