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Trump issues immigration wish list amid DACA talks

Dayana Arrue demonstrates at Trump Tower in Manhattan

Dayana Arrue demonstrates at Trump Tower in Manhattan after the administration announced plans to terminate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program on Sept. 5, 2017. Credit: Charles Eckert

A Dream delayed?

President Donald Trump sent an immigration policy wish list to Congress on Sunday that looks to deliver on his campaign promise to build a wall along the country’s southern border, but which congressional Democrats contend will impede the passage of a bipartisan deal to extend an Obama-era program that has offered protective status to thousands of immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as minors.

The White House, according to documents presented to lawmakers, is seeking funding for the wall; wants to limit family-based green cards to spouses and the minor children of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents; and is creating a point-based system. The White House also said it wants to boost fees at border crossings, make it easier to deport gang members and unaccompanied children, and overhaul the asylum system, reports Newsday’s Emily Ngo.

White House legislative director Marc Short, in a conference call with reporters Sunday evening, said “We ask that the priorities be included in any” deal for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which is set to expire in March.

More than 800,000 so-called “Dreamers” are protected under the program.

‘Anathema to the Dreamers’

Democratic leaders immediately denounced Trump’s immigration wish list, calling it “anathema to the Dreamers,” referring to the thousands of students and young adults protected under the DACA program.

In a joint statement, Sen. Chuck Schumer, the Senate minority leader, and Rep. Nancy Pelosi, the House minority leader, wrote: “The administration can’t be serious about compromise or helping the Dreamers if they begin with a list that is anathema to the Dreamers, to the immigrant community and to the vast majority of Americans.

“We told the President at our meeting that we were open to reasonable border security measures alongside the DREAM Act, but this list goes so far beyond what is reasonable. This proposal fails to represent any attempt at compromise.”

Players kneel, Pence walks

Vice President Mike Pence walked out of the Indianapolis Colts game Sunday in an apparent reaction to members of the visiting San Francisco 49ers who knelt before the game.

“At a time when so many Americans are inspiring our nation with their courage, resolve, and resilience, now, more than ever, we should rally around our Flag and everything that unites us,” Pence said in a statement posted to Twitter. “While everyone is entitled to their own opinions, I don’t think it’s too much to ask NFL players to respect the Flag and our national anthem.”

President Donald Trump followed up with a tweet of approval and said he asked Pence to leave the game, reports Newsday’s Ngo.

“I asked @VP Pence to leave stadium if any players kneeled, disrespecting our country. I am proud of him and @SecondLady Karen,” Trump wrote on Twitter.

Pence’s act followed numerous recent tweets and statements by Trump condemning NFL players who do not stand during the anthem. Players who choose not to stand during the playing of “The Star-Spangled Banner” have said they do so to protest racial and social injustice in the United States.

Another day, another Twitter feud

Sen. Bob Corker became the latest public figure to face Trump’s wrath on Twitter.

Trump claimed in tweets Sunday that Corker, a Tennessee Republican, had “begged” for his endorsement and “didn’t have the guts to run” without it.

Corker, whose top aide disputed the president’s account, fired back that the White House is an “adult day care center,” left without supervision when Trump posted his latest barbs.

“It’s a shame the White House has become an adult day care center. Someone obviously missed their shift this morning,” Corker wrote.

For a recap of the tit-for-tat, read Ngo’s article for Newsday.

‘He concerns me’

Corker later told The New York Times that he has long been concerned by Trump’s rhetoric on Twitter, saying the president’s short missives to world leaders could set the U.S. “on the path to World War III.”

“He concerns me,” Corker told the Times. “He would have to concern anyone who cares about our nation.”

Sunday roundup

Leaders of the National Rifle Association, in Sunday talk show appearances, criticized those calling for gun control measures a week after the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history, saying they were politicizing the issue. Democrats, meanwhile, pressed for legislative action.

NRA Executive Vice President and Chief Executive Wayne LaPierre, speaking on CBS’ “Face the Nation,” called for better enforcement of existing gun laws, reports Newsday’s Scott Eidler.

“For the people that are trying to politicize this tragedy, I would say this: There are monsters like this monster out there every day,” LaPierre said, referring to Steven Paddock, who killed more than 50 concertgoers and injured hundreds of others in a Las Vegas shooting spree last week. “There are menaces out there every day. People want to be able to protect themselves, that’s why they support this freedom.”

What else is happening

  • White House officials believe Chief of Staff John Kelly’s phone was compromised at Trump’s D.C. presidential transition office, according to Politico.
  • Trump told reporters over the weekend he believes Secretary of State Rex Tillerson should be “a little bit tougher, but brushed off reports of a strained relationship between the two.
  • The president lamented on Twitter that his administration’s recovery efforts in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria have been met with “so little appreciation.”

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