President Trump on Monday praised his administration’s work on immigration enforcement and border security, saying he's “going to take it five steps further.”
Speaking at a full Cabinet meeting, Trump said his government has led a “bottom up effort” on immigration, singling out Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who he said is “doing a wonderful job” on the issue.
Under Trump’s guidance, federal immigration enforcement has been aggressively stepped up through increased raids and deportations of previously-identified undocumented immigrants.
Earlier this month, the White House released a set of border security demands it said would need to be met as part of a legislative deal to shield from deportation recipients of the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. DACA, which was initiated under President Obama, is being wound down under Trump, which could lead to the deportation of hundreds of thousands of immigrants who were brought to the United States illegally as children.
Democrats want legislation to provide a path to citizenship to DACA recipients and other young undocumented immigrants, who are often described as “Dreamers.”
Trump said that the administration’s plan “closes dangerous loopholes” in the law.
He said reform legislation should reduce “chain migration” that allows an immigrant to apply to bring in extended family members.
“We have to end chain migration,” said Trump, in favor of “a system that puts American workers and the American taxpayer first.”
Trump also echoed statements made by his chief of staff, John Kelly, in a press conference last week regarding the need for a wall on the border with Mexico.
“Mexico is having a tough time right now in terms of crime,” said Trump. “More than ever now we need the wall.”
Trump added that, despite the strong relations between the two countries, a wall would help isolate the United States from Mexico's drug trafficking and criminality.
“We have a very good relationship with Mexico but there are lots of problems,” he said.
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