WASHINGTON — The Trump administration on Sunday sent an immigration policy wish list to Congress that includes overhauling the country’s green-card system, hiring 10,000 more immigration officers and building a wall along the southern border.
The demands called for limiting family-based green cards to spouses and the minor children of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents, and 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.
“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,” Democratic Sens. Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer said in a statement. “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.”
It was unclear whether the principles were intended as a broad outline of goals or as specific demands the White House expects to be implemented in exchange for signing legislation that would protect hundreds of thousands of young people brought into the United States illegally as children.
President Donald Trump has given Congress six months to find a replacement for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program. Initiated under President Barack Obama, the program protected hundreds of thousands of young people, or “Dreamers,” from deportation and allowed them to continue working legally in the country.
Earlier Sunday, Trump triggered a skirmish with retiring Sen. Bob Corker, claiming in tweets that Corker had “begged” for the president’s endorsement and “didn’t have the guts to run” without it.
Corker (R-Tennessee), whose top aide disputed the account, fired back that the White House is an “adult day care center,” left without supervision when Trump posted his latest barbs.
Sunday night, Corker told the New York Times, that Trump was treating his office like “a reality show,” with reckless threats toward other countries that could set the nation “on the path to World War III.”
Corker told the Times he was alarmed about a president who acts “like he’s doing ‘The Apprentice’ or something.”
The deeply personal turn in their feud came as Republicans work toward overhauling the tax code and delivering Trump a much-needed legislative victory. Corker is a crucial vote in the effort, but has said he may oppose the plan.
Trump sought to explain why he believed the senior lawmaker would stand against him.
“Senator Bob Corker ‘begged’ me to endorse him for re-election in Tennessee. I said ‘NO’ and he dropped out (said he could not win without my endorsement). He also wanted to be Secretary of State, I said “NO THANKS.” He is also largely responsible for the horrendous Iran Deal!” Trump posted on Twitter. “Hence, I would fully expect Corker to be a negative voice and stand in the way of our great agenda. Didn’t have the guts to run!”
Corker quickly responded in a tweet of his own: “It’s a shame the White House has become an adult day care center. Someone obviously missed their shift this morning.”
The senator’s chief of staff, Todd Womack, released a conflicting account of Trump’s willingness to support Corker’s re-election bid.
“The president called Senator Corker on Monday afternoon and asked him to reconsider his decision not to seek reelection and reaffirmed that he would have endorsed him, as he has said many times,” Womack said in a statement.
Corker has repeatedly criticized Trump.
In August, he condemned Trump’s remark that “both sides” were to blame in the racially charged violence in Charlottesville, Virginia. Corker questioned the president’s competence and said he had not “demonstrated that he understands the character of this nation.”
More recently, and speaking more freely after announcing he is leaving office, Corker said Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Defense Secretary James Mattis and White House Chief of Staff John Kelly are the “people that help separate our country from chaos.”
Corker also indicated he may reject the GOP leadership’s wide-reaching plan for tax cuts.
The senator, who is chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, told The Associated Press that he sees flaws in the multilateral Iran denuclearization deal, but doesn’t believe it should be abandoned.
“One of the things that’s important for us is to keep our allies with us, especially our Western allies,” Corker said.
Trump aimed another tweet at Corker on Sunday night.
“Bob Corker gave us the Iran Deal, & that’s about it. We need HealthCare, we need Tax Cuts/Reform, we need people that can get the job done!” Trump posted.