Washington – Agencies.
At 8:16 in the morning in Florida, Donald Trump returned this Friday to one of his favorite hobbies: demanding from his rivals difficult concessions in exchange for agreements. In a message on Twitter, the US president insisted on linking a pact with the Democratic opposition that renovates the DACA program, which avoids the deportation of dreamers (undocumented immigrants who came as children to the United States), with heavy-handed immigration measures , like the construction of a wall with Mexico, the star of its electoral campaign.
“The Democrats have been told, and have fully understood, that there can be no DACA without the desperately needed wall on the southern border and the end of the horrible chain immigration and the ridiculous immigration lottery system, etc. We must protect our country at any cost! “Trump wrote from his Mar-a-Lago club in West Palm Beach, where he spends the Christmas holidays.
The threat of the Republican president, who uses the tough hand in immigration as a spur to his voter base, is not new since this crisis was born. The Department of Justice announced in September the end of DACA, the directive of the government of Democrat Barack Obama that grants temporary permits of legal residence in the US for some 800,000 adult immigrants to work, study or serve in the Army. If Congress, where Republicans are the majority, does not act, the program will end on March 5.
After that decision, considered very unpopular for both Republican and Democratic voters, Trump reached an oral agreement with Democratic lawmakers to protect the dreamers. But shortly thereafter he resigned and decided to use that collective as a bargaining chip: he linked any pact with the approval of a package of measures, which included funds for the wall with Mexico, limiting residence permits, accelerating the expulsion of undocumented immigrants or hiring 10,000 border agents.
The current context is new. The Democratic leadership of Congress made a gesture to Trump last week by allowing an extension of the federal budget to be approved, which prevented the government from closing, without demanding a pact on DACA in exchange. The budget extension ends on January 19. The Democratic leaders hope to reach an agreement with the president on dreamers before then, but that strategy has increased the impatience of the Latino sectors of the Democratic caucus and Trump has not shown any sign of flexibility.
Quite the opposite. On the eve of his message on Twitter, the president already sent a warning. In an interview with The New York Times, he said he is “working” with the Democrats to reach an agreement on immigration and DACA. “We can do something spectacular through bipartisanship,” he said. But he warned: “I would not do DACA without the wall. Because we need it. We see drugs spread throughout the country. ”
In the interview, Trump also assured that Democrats agree on the need to make changes to the chain immigration program, which since 1981 has facilitated the arrival of 20 million people with relatives in the United States, and to the lottery system by which Washington grants some 50,000 visas a year to citizens of countries with low rates of immigrants in the country.
The Trump Government has put a strong focus on both programs in recent weeks by linking them, without offering conclusive evidence, with cases of terrorist threat. An Uzbek immigrant, who arrived in the US thanks to the lottery system, was the author of an attack, on behalf of the Islamic State, in October in New York in which eight people died. At the beginning of December, a Bangladeshi immigrant carried out a frustrated attack in the subway of that city and the authorities announced that he had entered the United States legally in 2011 by way of family reunification.