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Senate rejects Trump immigration plan

The Senate rejected legislation based on President Trump's framework for an immigration deal in a 39-60 vote on Thursday, leaving an uncertain path forward for Congress with nearly a million immigrants sheltered by an Obama-era program facing the prospect of deportation.

The measure spearheaded by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) needed 60 votes to clear a filibuster, but failed to meet the mark.

It was the fourth proposal in a row rejected by the Senate ...

The Grassley measure provided a pathway to citizenship for 1.8 million immigrants brought to the country illegally as children. Many of these people could face deportation beginning in March as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program is scaled back, though court rulings are complicating that matter.

It also included $25 billion for border security, tougher interior enforcement and new limits on legal immigration.

Supporters of the plan and the White House mounted an intense pressure campaign to win over the 60 votes needed to move forward with their plan.

"The president, in my view, has gone more than halfway to meet the Democrats and resolve this matter..." Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said ahead of the vote.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) also called the framework a "reasonable compromise."

And Trump, in a tweet, urged senators to "strongly consider a system of merit based immigration."

"While the Republicans and Democrats in Congress are working hard to come up with a solution to DACA, they should be strongly considering a system of Merit Based Immigration so that we will have the people ready, willing and able to help all of those companies moving into the USA!" he said.

Bolstering the White House, most Senate Republicans backed the measure, despite some concerns about cuts to legal immigration. And Trump won over three Democrats — Sens. Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.), Joe Donnelly (Ind.) and Joe Manchin (W.Va.) — all of whom face tough reelection races in deep-red states this fall. 

“I share the President's commitment to border security," Manchin said. "That’s why I voted for his plan. That’s why I fought to ensure the $25 billion he requested for border security was included in the bipartisan deal. That’s why I opposed the Democratic proposal that did not provide a single penny for border security." 
 
Trump and McConnell threw their support behind the Grassley plan earlier this week, bolstering its chances. Republicans are wary of moving forward with an immigration bill that the president doesn't support given that the issue is a political lightning rod amongst the party's base.

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), one of Trump's closest allies in the Senate, warned ahead of the vote that any Republicans who supported a separate bipartisan proposal should be concerned about "their electoral futures.”

But the interior enforcement measures, limits to legal immigration and nixing of the Diversity Visa Lottery program were largely considered nonstarters for Democrats.

"President Trump, since he created this problem by terminating DACA last August, has stood in the way of every single proposal that has had a chance to become law," said Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.).

Republicans tried to pressure Democrats into supporting the measure, making it the fourth of the four proposals to get a vote in the Senate Thursday. But Democrats largely scoffed at the take it-or-leave it set up.

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) separately told reporters that “I think the writing’s on the wall with the Grassley proposal. … Few if any Democrats will vote for it.”

Grassley tried to win over Democratic support by pledging they would be able to offer changes if it overcame an initial procedural hurdle.

"Aren't you at a point where here the Democrats have been pleading for months and months and months for justice," he said, "why would they turn it down?"

Where the Senate's debate goes next is unclear, though Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) told reporters that both sides would keep talking ahead of the March 5 deadline.

Where the Senate's debate goes next is unclear. 

The Trump administration announced last year that they were ending DACA, which allows undocumented immigrants brought into the country as children to work and go to school.

Under that decision Congress has until March 5 to pass a fix. But two court dates have thrown that into limbo.

McConnell said late Thursday afternoon that it had been a "disappointing week" and Democrats "couldn't take yes for an answer." 

And while noting that he had "held up my end of the bargain," the GOP leader left the door open to bringing immigration back up if a plan emerged that could pass both chambers and had the support of the White House. 

"Even though this week has been squandered, this does not have to be the end of our efforts," he said.

 

Oregon bill combats DACA termination, continues college tuition equity

Despite national efforts to end DACA, undocumented students in Oregon will continue to have access to tuition equity if Senate Bill 1563 passes.

Students who are not citizens have historically had to apply for "official federal identification" — Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals documentation — before they can be eligible for resident tuition at public universities.

Otherwise, they have to pay non-resident or international tuition costs, which can be three or four times more than in-state tuition per year.

But since the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s deferred action program was terminated in 2017, the department is no longer accepting applications.

The Oregon bill is an attempt to bridge that gap, removing the restriction from undocumented students living in the state and continuing protections put into place in Oregon years ago.

In short, it would allow these students to continue getting access to lower tuition costs, scholarships and other financial aid. 

"This is the only country, the only state and the only home they have ever known," said Senate President Peter Courtney, D-Salem, one of the chief sponsors of the bill. "Pure and simple, they are Americans in thought, word and deed."

Sen. Michael Dembrow, D-Portland, Rep. Diego Hernandez, D-Portland, and Rep. Teresa Alonso León, D-Woodburn, are also chief sponsors.

Courtney worked on various bills in the past that sought similar equity for undocumented students, but did not come to fruition, including Senate Bill 10 in 2003 and Senate Bill 742 in 2011. Both passed the Senate but not the House, even with bipartisan support.

However, a Tuition Equity bill was passed via House Bill 2787 in 2013. This session's bill would protect the 2013 legislation, keeping the path to college open for the same students covered before.

"I didn’t know what I was doing at the time. I didn’t know about ‘tuition equity’ or federal immigration laws, we didn’t have DACA or DREAMers," Courtney said. " And the frustration these students felt after working so hard to graduate, only to realize they would be unable to afford college."

Not much opposition was voiced at the Senate Education Committee hearing Wednesday afternoon. However, Sen. Cliff Bentz, R-Ontario, requested additional stats on how many students would truly stand to benefit from the program.

The students covered by this bill must have been brought to the United States under the age of 16, are younger than 30 years old, do not pose a threat to national security or public safety and have continuously resided in the U.S. for the past five years.

Many of the education committee members, in addition to those listed as chief sponsors, are regular sponsors, including Chair Arnie Roblan, D-Coos Bay, Sen. Sara Gelser, D-Corvallis, and Sen. Mark Hass, D-Beaverton.

"To punish young people brought here by their undocumented parents would be wrong. It would be cruel. It would be un-American," Courtney said. "They are every bit a part of our American family.

"Let’s send Senate Bill 1563 to the Floor," he said.

The work session for the bill was held over to the next committee meeting, scheduled for Monday, Feb. 12 at 1 p.m. in Hearing Room C at the Capitol.

One student's story

Edith Gomez Navarrete was brought to Oregon illegally from Mexico when she was 1 year old.

She graduated high school with honors, earned Bachelor's and Masters degrees and become a fourth-grade teacher at a dual English-Spanish immersion school in Eugene.

And even though she was one of only five students in her high school class to earn a full International Baccalaureate Diploma, she still faced many obstacles accessing higher education.

In 2012, Gomez Navarrete was accepted to Oregon State University and the University of Oregon, but was told she would have to pay international student tuition — close to $30,000 a year.

She was already living on her own and supporting herself. She said it would have been impossible to pay $120,000 for an undergraduate degree plus living costs.

"Undocumented students are ineligible for most scholarships, no matter how hard we work or how strong our academic record because the minimum documentation requirement is permanent residency," she said.

Gomez Navarrete shared her story when testifying at the hearing Wednesday.

She was able to access a school's Tuition Equity program and earn some scholarships as well, but could not access federal aid as an undocumented student.

"Without Tuition Equity, there was truly no possible chance we could ever pay for college," she said. "All we want is an opportunity."

In high school, Gomez Navarrete heard from many friends who saw no sense in even completing high school, because college seemed unattainable. Many dropped out.

"Look what happened when I had the opportunity," she said. "When we talk about the need to diversify Oregon’s teaching force so we can better reach all kids – they are talking about me."

While not all people who are undocumented at Latino, and not all Latino people are undocumented, there is a persistent educational achievement gap for Latino students.

More than 40 percent of Latinos in Oregon have earned less than a high school diploma, compared to only 9 percent of their white counterparts.

Additionally, only 23 percent of Latinos have some college or Associate Degree, only 12 percent have a Bachelor's Degree or higher. These numbers compare to 36 percent and 31 percent for their white counterparts, respectively.

"Oregon needs to pass Senate Bill 1563 to keep these opportunities alive, so young people have a reason to finish high school and have an opportunity to meet their potential," she finished. "We just want to find the chance to do what we were meant to do."

Contact Natalie Pate at npate@StatesmanJournal.com, 503-399-6745, or follow her on Twitter @Nataliempate or on Facebook a www.Facebook.com/nataliepatejournalist.

Congressman Ron Wyden holding Towhall meetings this weekend

Alert date: 
2018-02-02
Alert body: 

Have something to say to Congressman Ron Wyden? He would like to see you at one of his upcoming Townhall Meetings this weekend.

Saturday, Feb. 3 - starts at 11:30 am
Astoria High School Auditorium
1001 W Marine Dr., Astoria, OR 97103
 
and
 
Saturday, Feb. 3, starts at 4 pm
Port of Tillamook Bay, Officers Mess Hall
6825 Officer's Row, Tillamook, OR 97141
 
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Sunday, Feb. 4 - starts Noon
Century High School Gymnasium
2000 SE Century Blvd., Hillsboro, OR 97123
 
If you attend, please email van@numbersusa.com a brief description of your interaction and the immigration-related discussion. Or, call OFIR at 503.435.0141 and tell us about it.
 
Talking Points for your consideration:
 
You were responsible for shutting down the federal government, not Republicans. And for what? To amnesty illegal aliens. You're playing a destructive political game. You knew negotiations were ongoing. Do not vote for another shutdown.
 
You are pushing a legalization for so-called Dreamers but don't care what caused these young people to be in the country illegally in the first place. Their parents brought them while seeking to work here illegally. We'll be in this situation again unless we make it hard for employers to hire unlawful workers. That's why I want you to support mandatory E-Verify workplace eligibility checks for all employers. Don't subject another generation of young people to the same situation.
 
Our immigration system should help American workers get a decent pay raise and have a higher standard of living. That's why Sen. Tom Cotton introduced the RAISE Act, which would cut legal immigration from about one million per year to 500,000. I strongly support the bill because it will reduce job competition, including for the 50 million working-age Americans not in the workforce. Please co-sponsor the RAISE Act. Stand with American workers, not anti-American business owners who want more job competition to reduce wages.
 
The Visa Lottery must be terminated because it threatens our national security, as evidenced by the October 31 New York City terrorist attack by lottery winner Sayfullo Saipov. The program is fraud-ridden, because it has low application standards, and draws from nations that are state sponsors of terror or are known to harbor terrorist organizations. This dangerous combination made the program the subject of numerous congressional oversight hearings and a target for repeal. Please support a repeal of the Visa Lottery.
 
A biometric entry/exit system was a key recommendation of the 9/11 Commission after it learned that several of the hijackers had overstayed their visas. But despite Congressional approval and funding, the last two administrations failed to implement this essential system for tracking and removing visa over-stayers. There is no excuse for further delays in these dangerous times, so I want you to help get this done.

 

Next OFIR meeting - Saturday, Feb. 17 from 2 - 4pm

Alert date: 
2018-01-31
Alert body: 

Oregonians for Immigration Reform will be holding our next meeting Saturday, Feb. 17th,  2pm – 4pm  at the Best Western Mill Creek Inn

We will update you on what's happening with Initiative Petition #22 - to Repeal Oregon's Sanctuary Law.

Lee Vasche  - of Ballot Access LLC  - will explain how his PAID signature gatherers enhance our initiative efforts and increase the likelihood of success.

Primary elections are just around the corner and two candidates will join us toshare their ideas for making Oregon a better place -

Joey Nations – candidate for Congressional Distirct #5 and Marty Heyen – candidate for Oregon House of Representatives – District 22.

Have you signed the petition to Repeal Oregon's Sanctuary Statute?  If not, please go to www.StopOregonSanctuaries.org

Print out a single signer sheet. Simply sign, date and mail – it's that easy!  Or, if you know friends and family members that would like to sign the initiative, you can request a 10 line signature sheets to do so.

So, invite a friend to join you this Saturday, Feb. 17 at 2:00pm at the Best Western Mill Creek Inn – across from Costco in Salem.

We'll see you Saturday!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Is Oregon's Congressional Delegation a shameful representation of America's values?

Illegal Aliens at SOTU Reveal Amnesty, Not American Interests, is Priority for Many on One Side of the Aisle

by Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) Executive Director Bob Dane

(January 30, 2018, Washington, D.C.) — Dozens of illegal aliens will attend the State of the Union address, invited as distinguished guests by Democrat lawmakers.

“This annual stunt is deeply offensive to Americans who know that the rule of law is the bedrock of our democracy. The United States Capitol is the revered building where those laws are made by the world’s greatest deliberative body; it is not an unruly theatre for flouting lawlessness. By granting VIP access to dozens of illegal aliens who consciously and proudly violate our laws, the Democrat members of Congress who invited them have clearly revealed their contempt for the rule of law as well.

“Those members have also revealed their real agenda; massive amnesty, unlimited immigration and disregard for any reforms that serve the American public’s interest. The message that will be sent by tonight’s presence of so-called ‘Dreamers’ is crystal clear and one-sided: violating our immigration laws is an inconsequential act and the public just needs to get used to it. We’re here, we’re unapologetic, we’re not going anywhere, we’re going to sit and stand anywhere we want – including the United States Capitol – and we demand to be rewarded with citizenship.  

“These tactics only serve to alienate many Americans and set back the debate. Americans have long needed – and have been promised – secure borders, robust interior enforcement, and a reduction in legal immigration levels while moving to a modern, merit-based system. None of it has happened, and tonight’s antics are an infuriating reminder of that, while also confirming who is responsible for the immigration reform stalemate.

“’Dreamers’ should consider whether they are just being used as political props by some Democrats who continue to oppose any and all reasonable immigration proposals. ‘Dreamers’ are certainly not advancing their cause with these defiant tactics that offend many Americans who might otherwise be interested in an earnest bipartisan solution, but only if it offers them what they want too.”
 

PCC opens center for 'Dreamers,' other undocumented students at Rock Creek Campus

The state's largest college opened a new center last week specifically to help support students who qualify for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

Portland Community College officially opened the door Jan. 22 to its DACA Resource Center at the school's Rock Creek campus on the west side. The school says it's the first center of its kind in the state.  ... undocumented students brought to the United States as children, commonly referred to as Dreamers.

"At PCC, we recognize that dreamer students face unique barriers that require additional mental, emotional and financial support," Liliana Luna, Rock Creek's Multicultural Center coordinator and a DACA recipient said in a statement. "The new DREAM Center focuses on the empowerment, support and retention of dreamers and their families." 

...The $50,000 effort is backed by the Meyer Memorial Trust and the Oregon Immigrant and Refugee Funders Collaborative.

DACA recipients with work permits face a March 5 deadline for renewal...

Trump’s Draft Amnesty: Unlimited, Forever, and Before a Wall Is Built

A near-final draft of the White House’s unlimited and forever amnesty bill says the administration wants $25 billion for a wall over the next five years, and will not cancel chain-migration or visa-lottery inflows until the last of the 4 million foreigners now in the pipeline have arrived in the 2030s.

The amnesty is dubbed the Security, Enforcement, and Compassion United Reform Effort Act, or SECURE Act. It is based on the SUCCEED Act developed by Sen. Thom Tillis and Sen. James Lankford, and it offers amnesty to an unlimited number of people, without any ending date.

Overall, the amnesty bill implements the desire of American business for a huge, managed supply of young, compliant, non-criminal workers, who also double as consumers. That is very different from progressives’ desire to welcome poor ‘dreamer’ migrants from developing countries, regardless of costs...

The 250-page draft received by Breitbart News matches the one-page description released this week by White House officials.

The Trump amnesty bill requires $25 billion be set aside from 2018 to 2021 for “tactical infrastructure,” which is a code-word for a wall....

In fact, Democrats who say they will vote for the amnesty and wall also suggest they will try to block subsequent construction of the wall...

The bill technically ends the visa lottery and chain-migration programs which allow diverse immigrants to bring in their extended-family clans of siblings, parents and older children. But the end is delayed until all 4 million people in the pipeline — such as the elderly parents and devout siblings of visa-lottery winners from Pakistan — settle in the United States. The pipeline also includes hundreds of thousands of white-collar professionals.

By welcoming everyone in the pipeline, the bill does not give working Americans even partial relief from the salary impact of mass immigration for 15 years or more...

The amnesty section requires Americans to grant the hugely valuable gift of citizenship to nearly all current illegals who have documents saying they are younger than 37...

The legislation directs the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security to operate the amnesty and includes some measures to help screen out fraudulent applicants for the amnesty.

For example, the bill includes a grant of $400 million for a formal bureaucratic process...

But the bill sets no upper limit on Trump’s amnesty, and it does not provide any incentives for officials to fight fraud or minimize the scale...

That lack of any upper limit means the political appointee who runs the DHS  will have the power to exceed the reported estimate of 1.8 million illegals by simply directing officials to accept more applications...

The cost of the amnesty is not mentioned in the legislation, although the Congressional Budget Office optimistically estimated that a similar DREAM Act amnesty for 2 million illegals would cost taxpayers $26 billion in just the first ten years. The costs would be high because very few of the illegals have college degrees, many do not speak English, and so cannot earn enough to pay more taxes than they receive in benefits....

The existing population of illegals in the United States is estimated at 12 million, but it may be higher, and it is growing every day as migrants head north in the hope of buying documents and applying for the amnesty...

Moreover, the bill handcuffs DHS agents from deporting any younger illegals until the illegals file for the amnesty. That provision means the DHS agents cannot deport young illegals — even if they have just climbed over the border fence — until the DHS secretary can start accepting applications.

But the business community will have little reason to defend Trump, partly because they have gotten their double-shot of tax cuts and cheap labor. In fact, the legislation does not sunset the amnesty, meaning it can be quietly expanded with a few legal tweaks that can be attached to any of the myriad obscure bills annually passed by Congress.

In 1986, Congress expected that 400,000 farm workers would apply for green cards –but officials eventually handed out 1 million green cards. If the same pattern applies to the estimated 1.8 million recipients, Trump’s amnesty will be given to 4.5 million illegals — or more than one year of births in the United States.

The Migration Policy Institute estimates the current resident population of ‘dreamer’ illegals to be 3.25 million — not counting younger, more recent child-illegals who will age in and drive the total closer to 4.5 million.

That bigger-than-expected total would be a disaster for the GOP but a boon for business because it will head off the labor shortages which allow Americans to get higher wages....

The legislation says illegals must meet several tests, such as steady work and validated education levels. But the education standards are extremely low, suggesting that nearly all illegals will meet the test...

Illegals will be allowed to become citizens after 12 years, giving Democrats a huge electoral boost in the 2030s when nearly all of today’s GOP legislators have retired...

Even without citizenship, the population of several million legalized illegals will provide an immediate gain for Democratic Party, partly because they will be counted in the 2020 census and will shift a few more House seats from GOP-dominated areas into Democratic-dominated areas....

The draft amnesty will also serve as complete proof in November that Trump’s voters’ wrongly placed their trust in his August 2016 promise to block any amnesty:

He said:

For those here illegally today who are seeking legal status, they will have one route and one route only. To return home and apply for re-entry like everybody else under the rules of the new legal immigration system that I have outlined today …

It’s our right as a sovereign nation to choose immigrants that we think are the likeliest to thrive and flourish and love us …

Anyone who tells you the core issue is the needs of those living here illegally has simply spent too much time in Washington.

Four million Americans turn 18 each year and begin looking for good jobs in the free market.

But the federal government inflates the supply of new labor by annually accepting roughly 1.1 million new legal immigrants (including roughly 750,000 working-age migrants), by providing work-permits to roughly 3 million resident foreigners, and by doing little to block the employment of roughly 8 million illegal immigrants.

The Washington-imposed economic policy of economic growth via mass-immigration floods the market with foreign laborspikes profits and Wall Street values by cutting salaries for manual and skilled labor offered by blue-collar and white-collar employees. It also drives up real estate priceswidens wealth-gaps, reduces high-tech investment, increases state and local tax burdens, hurts kids’ schools and college education, pushes Americans away from high-tech careers, and sidelines at least 5 million marginalized Americans and their families, including many who are now struggling with opioid addictions.

amnesty

The cheap-labor policy has also reduced investment and job creation in many interior states because the coastal cities have a surplus of imported labor....

Because of the successful cheap-labor strategy, wages for men have remained flat since 1973, and a large percentage of the nation’s annual income has shifted to investors and away from employees.

amnesty

How some people get rich quickly

David North of the Center for Immigration Studies tells us how some people get rich quickly and legally.

It’s time to close the paths for schemers described in his article. 

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IF YOU WANT A LOT OF CASH, DON'T ROB A BANK, OPEN A VISA MILL!

By David North, January 17, 2018

[Excerpts]

If you want to secure a whole lot of money, and don't care how you get it, don't rob a bank, open a visa mill! As much as $53 million a year — all tax-free. You will get much more loot than in a bank heist, there will be no physical danger, and the government will either help your school or look the other way.

Visa mills are an immigration concern because they attract thousands of low-skilled aliens (the schools routinely have 100 percent admission rates). Most of the alien students, who secure, at best, fourth-rate educations, immediately obtain government-subsidized jobs, depriving un-subsidized resident workers of the same jobs.

Government subsidies for foreign students that are denied to American ones? Absolutely!

...

A visa mill is defined as a lesser educational institution that provides more in work permits for aliens than in education. This posting was inspired by reading the most recent income statements (Form 990) provided to the government by four highly prosperous but marginal schools that, if you will, major in Work Permits for Aliens. The four were among a larger group of 55 examined in the recent CIS Backgrounder "The Dregs of Higher Education Damage Our Immigration System".

...

These are obscure institutions and all levels of governments ignore them beyond the ultimate gifts of letting them have the power to issue the paper that leads to the F-1 visa and the power to grant to all their alumni and most of their students an easy path to subsidized American jobs.

The IRS could question their charity status; the State Department could stop issuing visas to many or all the students accepted at such places; and the Student and Exchange Visitor Program, part of the Department of Homeland Security, could crack down on the abuses in these programs — but none of them lift a finger, nor do state governments — with one honorable exception.

The exception is the State Council on Higher Education in Virginia (SCHEV), which recently closed one visa mill in Northern Virginia and a couple of years ago terminated another one in the same general area.

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View the entire article here.

In extraordinary public negotiation with Congress, Trump promises to sign DACA bill

WASHINGTON — President Trump promised Tuesday to sign what he called a "bill of love" to extend protections to 800,000 immigrants who entered the United States illegally as children — if Congress can work out the details.

"You folks are going to have to come up with a solution," Trump told 25 lawmakers in a remarkable televised negotiation at the White House. "And if you do, I'm going to sign that solution." 

But funding for a wall along the border with Mexico remains a sticking point, as Trump insisted that border security remain a part of any deal. 

Lawmakers are under a March 5 deadline — imposed by Trump — to come up with a legal fix to the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. DACA, as it's known, is now the main stumbling block holding up a wide range of other Trump administration immigration priorities. 

Conservative Republicans in the House want to link DACA to Trump's request for $18 billion for a border wall. That would give immigration talks even more urgency, as the spending bill must pass by Jan. 19 to prevent a government shutdown. 

So Trump and his top advisers sat down Tuesday with 25 members of Congress — 16 senators and nine representatives, 15 Republicans and 10 Democrats. And in an unusual move, the White House opened nearly an hour of the meeting to the press.

More: Trump demands Democrats cave on border wall before DACA fix

More: Trump: DACA will be 'terrific' if Democrats back his own immigration plans

More: Each day, 120 'dreamers' lose protection from deportation

The Republicans came with a common talking point: Congress needs a permanent fix to immigration enforcement, or else have to deal with the issue again. Democrats said the urgency of saving DREAMers from deportation meant that extending DACA must take priority.

The so-called DREAMers are the children of immigrants who remained in the country illegally — growing up as Americans but without the legal status. Obama's solution was to use his enforcement discretion to give up to 800,000 DREAMers a quasi-legal status, but the Trump administration has said Obama exceeded his authority and that any fix must come from Congress.

Trump said repeatedly on Tuesday that he would sign any bill Congress sends him to make that deferred action program legal. But then he later clarified that such a bill must also include border security measures, including funding for a border wall.

"A clean DACA bill, to me, is a DACA bill where we take care of the 800,000 people," he said. "We take care of them and we also take care of security. That's very important."

Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill., the number two Democrat in the Senate, expressed optimism that such a deal could get done.  

As of March 5, one thousand people a day will lose their temporary status, Durbin said. “Lives are hanging in the balance. We’ve got the time to do it,” Durbin told Trump.

"We feel that we can put together a combination for the future of DACA as well as border security," said Durbin, sitting to Trump's right. "We want a safe border in America, period, both when it comes to the issues of illegal migration, but also when it comes to drugs and all these other areas."

But Republicans also want two other issues on the table: elimination of the diversity visa lottery program and family-based "chain migration." 

"Yes, we’ve got to do DACA, and I agree with you 100%," said House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif. "But if we do not do something with the security, if we do not do something with the chain migration, we are fooling each other that we solved the problem."

Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer of New York, who was not in the meeting, said he was encouraged by Trump's more productive tone. "The fact that he limited things to just the four areas that were talked about — something we have been seeking for a while to see what the limits are—was a very good sign," he said.

More: How Trump's wall pledge is complicating a DACA bill for 'Dreamers'

After the reporters left, Trump showed even more flexibility, said Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz. — especially on the issue of how much money he wants for the border wall.

“I went in very skeptical that anything would be accomplished, but the biggest part of the meeting — the best part — is what the president did actually a little more explanation of what the wall actually means to him,” said Flake, who has been a frequent critic of the president in the past. “The wall is really a fence.”

Tuesday's meeting in the Cabinet Room of the White House was scheduled to be closed to reporters, but opened up on short notice. It quickly became perhaps the most extended open discussion between the president and congressional leaders since President Barack Obama's Blair House summit on health care eight years ago. Sen. Lindsay Graham, R-S.C., called it "the most fascinating meeting I’ve been involved with in 20-plus years in politics."

"I like opening it up to the media," Trump said. "Because I think they're seeing, more than anything else, that we're all very much on a similar page. We're on the same page."

The open negotiation also came amid growing questions about Trump's command of the issues following the release of a tell-all book last week. Often sitting with his arms crossed and directing the conversation, Trump delved into immigration policy with occasional tangents into earmarks, military spending and whether Oprah Winfrey will run for president. ("I don’t think she’s going to run," Trump said.)

After 55 minutes, Trump finally gave the signal for aides to usher reporters out of the room. "Thank you all very much. I hope we gave you enough material. This should cover you for about two weeks," he said.


 

Oregon immigrant rights groups respond to Trump's order for 200,000 Salvadorans to leave U.S.

The Trump administration will end temporary legal immigration status for 200,000 Salvadorans who have been living in the U.S. for nearly two decades, the Department of Homeland Security announced Monday.

The decision means that Salvadorans who currently have Temporary Protected Status (TPS) must return to their homeland by September 2019 or become undocumented immigrants if they choose to remain without legal protections.

Salvadorans were first granted TPS in 2001 following a pair of devastating earthquakes that killed nearly 1,000 people and destroyed more than 100,000 homes in the Central American country.

There are roughly 4,784 foreign-born Salvadorans living in Oregon, according to a 2016 Migration Policy Institute report. Roughly 1.2 percent of Oregon Salvadorans were born in the United States. It's unclear how many TPS holders are affected in Oregon.

The decision comes two months after the Department of Homeland Security announced plans to end temporary residency permit programs granting 5,000 citizens from Nicaragua and 60,000 Haitians to live and work in the United States for roughly 20 years and eight years, respectively. In November, the Trump administration postponed a decision until July regarding a similar program granting refuge for 86,000 residents from Honduras.

Oregon immigrant rights and human rights organizations called the decision inhumane.

"The biggest issue is that these folks have put roots in Oregon, they have jobs, they have children born here," said Levi Herrera-Lopez. "Just like the issue of DACA, people are deciding if their families are going to have to split up."

The Salvadoran Embassy in Washington estimates that 97 percent of Salvadorans in the program over the age of 24 are employed and paying taxes, and more than half own their own homes. Salvadorans on TPS have also given birth to 192,000 children, all U.S. citizens, according to a report from the Center for Migration Studies.

For Carlos Garcia, 58, of El Salvador, he said his days are now numbered.

He fled his home country with his two sons, who are both now Dreamers awaiting their own looming deadline, roughly 17 years ago.

Garcia works as a detailer for an auto dealership and works parttime installing windshields in vehicles.

"What am I going to do now? I’ve been a tax paying resident of this country and I don’t have any idea what I’m going to do," Garcia said.

Garcia said he's known tightening immigration reform has been one of Trump's sole focuses since his campaign, but the reality of returning to El Salvador's "corrupt" government and its "organized crime" is a concern.

"How can anyone live under these circumstances of not knowing what's going to happen this month, or this year?" Garcia said. "The main problem here is the mental health of 200,000 Salvadorans who don't know what the outcome will be."

He said his American dream has become the "American nightmare." Garcia hopes Congress will step in and pressure Trump to reverse the action.

Herrera-Lopez, executive director of Mano a Mano Family Center, a Latino-led community organization offering immigration assistance and youth development services, said Trump's decision falls in line with his campaign promise of deporting millions of undocumented immigrants. 

"I understand that these people were offered temporary status, but El Salvador's challenges have not been stabilized," Herrera-Lopez said. "That may be true from the natural disaster standpoint, but not of the social stability of the country."

He points to the country's struggle with Mara Salvatrucha, an international gang commonly known as MS13, in addition to other local crimes that may put tens of thousands of returned Salvadorans at a disadvantage.

"Their economy may not be stable enough to absorb 200,000 people," Herrera-Lopez said. "For many, they are going to a country that is foreign to them, that has changed over the past 20 years, and that is completely disconnected."

An Oregon anti-illegal immigration organization supports the president's action.

Jim Ludwick, communications director for Oregonians for Immigration Reform, said decision demonstrate's Trump's understanding that every nation has a sovereign right to establish immigration policies.

"They were brought in because of the earthquake and were supposed to be here on a temporary basis, but some people have a different definition of 'temporary,'" Ludwick said. "El Salvador has the right to regulate who goes into their country, just like we have the right to regulate who comes into ours."

He said he doesn't understand why people oppose the action, saying families don't have to be torn apart during their return to El Salvador. Hypothetically, he said, if he had children in another country, and his visa ran out, he wouldn't leave his family there.

"Trump isn't breaking up families," Ludwick said. "If someone breaks up their families, they're doing it themselves."

Pineros y Campesinos Unidos del Noroeste, translated as Northwest Treeplanters and Farmworkers United, plans on coordinating with other Oregon immigrant rights organizations like Mano a Mano to localize efforts and rally support from elected officials and business leaders, but they are thinking nationally as well.

PCUN's secretary-treasurer Jaime Arredondo said they are organizing along with their partner Fair Immigration Reform Movement, a national coalition of grassroots immigrant rights organizations.

"This is something we saw coming, so we're seeing if we can do anything on a national level to delay it or to make sure it's done away with,"Arredondo said.

Mat dos Santos, the legal director of the ACLU of Oregon, said President Trump's focus on targeted immigration operations, including rescinding DACA and ending other TPS programs, will tear Oregon families apart.

"This is another reminder from the Trump administration that new Americans are seen as a threat and not contributors to our country," dos Santos said.

He said he and his ACLU colleagues are expecting to get calls from Salvadorans who are impacted by the program's cut.

Kayse Jama, executive director of immigrant and refugee rights organization Unite Oregon, said the move demonstrates the systematic dismantling of immigration in the United States.

Jama, of Somalia, said President Trump's ban on travel from Muslim-majority countries has prevented him from returning to his home country, and that this recent program cut is only sustaining the president's "anti-immigrant" rhetoric still looming from his campaign.

"These community members are dishwashers, they working in nursing homes, they have their own businesses," Jama said. "This will have huge implications for the Salvadoran community but also our economy."

USA TODAY contributed to this story.

Email Lauren Hernandez at lehernande@statesmanjournal.com, call 503-399-6743 or follow on Twitter @LaurenPorFavor

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