WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — President Donald Trump unveiled his long-awaited immigration reform proposal on Thursday.
The plan focuses on legal immigration in the U.S. and is merit-based, prioritizing highly-skilled, English-speaking immigrants while making it more difficult for immigrants to bring their families into the country.
The plan will likely encounter resistance from both Republicans and Democrats.
On the Senate floor, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-New York, denounced the plan.
“If anything, it’s a political document that is anti-immigration,” he said. “It repackages the same partisan radical anti-immigrant policies that the administration has pushed for two years.”
Democrats say the president’s proposal falls far short of fixing our nation’s broken immigration system. They’re especially concerned that the plan does nothing to address the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
“I believe that they should be able to come forward, earn citizenship,” Congressman Anthony Brindisi, D-New York, said.
Brindisi says lawmakers must find a way to compromise on the future of immigrants who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children.
“If they’re playing by the rules, then we should be able to put them on some kind of a path forward,” he said.
At least one Republican agrees: Congressman Tom Reed of New York.
“If that’s what it takes to get a deal done,” Reed said.
Despite Reed’s optimism, the White House says DACA is not in the immigration reform plan because it’s divisive.
“Every single time that we have put forward or anyone else has put forward any type of immigration plan and it’s included DACA, it’s failed,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders explained.
Reed says it’s important to reach a deal built around Trump’s merit-based immigration plan.
“We have to do this based on hard work being rewarded, making sure people aren’t rewarded for not following the rules,” he said.
Reed also said he’s hopeful lawmakers and Trump can come together on immigration for the American people.