The Democrats' Extreme Rhetoric on Immigration

February 1, 2018

President Donald Trump revealed his immigration proposal last week and was met with stiff resistance from Democratic lawmakers.

Congress has until Feb. 8 to pass a long-term budget that includes immigration reform of some degree or risk another government shutdown. The government shutdown for three days after congress was unable to pass a short term continuing resolution (CR) because it didn't include a fix for DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival) recipients.

There are roughly 800,000 illegal immigrants who qualified for protection and were shielded from deportation by the 2012 Barack Obama executive order, which the Trump administration rescinded last year. Congress is now trying to find a legal solution for them and potentially millions of other "Dreamers," a general term for immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as children.

In order to reopen the government, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., K.Y.) promised to hold a vote in the senate on an immigration bill that would allow a permanent solution for Dreamers. Democrats and Republicans continue to negotiate over the issue.

Trump's proposed plan is a compromise that offers legalization for 1.8 million people, which is more than double the 700,000 current DACA recipients, in exchange for border security funding and a move to a merit-based immigration system.

Overall, Democrats have rejected Trump's proposal.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) called Trump's proposal a "campaign to make America white again." Several other House Democrats repeated Pelosi's remarks.

"And is literally a love letter to white supremacists," Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D., Wash.) said in reference to Trump's plan.

Democrats also blasted Trump's plan to limit chain migration and accused the president of using a racial slur when he uses the term.

"I think a lot of President Trump's rhetoric is racist. Let's be very clear: when someone uses the phrase chain migration … it is intentional in trying to demonize families, literally trying to demonize families and make it a racist slur," Sen. Kristen Gillibrand (D., N.Y.) said on Monday.

"African Americans believe that they migrated to America in chains. And when you speak about chain migration, it hurts them personally," Sen. Dick Durbin (D., Ill.) said earlier in January.

Some Democrats accused Trump and Republicans of holding Dreamers and the American people hostage because they aim for more comprehensive immigration reform that would include increased border security and additional changes to the immigration system in exchange for Democrats' demands for a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers. Democrats vow they will not vote for another CR to keep the government open unless their demands are met.