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Trump Demands Congress Fund Border Wall as Price for Keeping Dreamers

White House wants hardline measures in return for deal on Daca. Democrats, Dreamers and advocates slam ‘immoral’ and ‘shameful’ list.

The Trump administration on Sunday issued a list of hardline immigration demands, including funding for a wall on the Mexico border and a crackdown on admittance of children from Central America, as its first move in negotiations for a deal to allow young undocumented migrants known as Dreamers to stay in the US legally.

Democrats rejected the list as “immoral” and “far beyond what is reasonable”, setting up a likely showdown in Congress. On Monday Michelle Lujan Grisham, a Democrat from New Mexico and chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, said if Republicans and the White House refused to back off, Democrats led by the CHC were prepared to derail legislation.

“They are not going to have Democrats to get them over the finish line on anything they need,” she said on a conference call with reporters, adding: “We’ll use every leverage point we have at our disposal to protect these Dreamers.”

Dreamers and groups who advocate for them also reacted with horror. Christian Ramirez, director of the Southern Border Communities Coalition (SBCC), said the decision to use Dreamers as a “bargaining chip” was “shameful”.

The list of principles also called for withholding federal grants for “sanctuary cities” and limiting legal immigration by issuing fewer family-based green cards to spouses and the minor children of US citizens and lawful permanent residents. It also demanded the creation of a points-based system for migrants to gain entry to the US.

On a call with reporters on Sunday, White House aides said the demands fulfilled campaign promises made by Donald Trump. As president, Trump has issued executive actions to restrict immigration that have included ramping up deportations and banning travelers and refugees from some Muslim-majority nations from entering the US.

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