WASHINGTON – House Speaker Nancy Pelosi Thursday evening slammed an immigration reform proposal presented by President Donald Trump.
“This dead-on-arrival plan is not a remotely serious proposal,” Pelosi (D-Calif.) said in a statement.
She added: “The White House has repackaged the worst of its past failed immigration plans: greenlighting the Administration’s barbaric family detention policies, reviving the President’s ineffective and wasteful wall, completely abandoning our patriotic and determined Dreamers and gutting our asylum and refugee protections, which the evangelical community has called the ‘crown jewel of American humanitarianism.’ To say that this plan’s application criteria are ‘merit-based’ is the height of condescension.”
Trump unveiled the proposal in a speech at the White House Rose Garden on Thursday afternoon. He called on Congress to get to work on legislation to overhaul the current immigration system.
Trump said the legislation should prioritize merit-based applicants, namely those who are highly-educated, over those seeking humanitarian refuge.
Trump said the asylum process should be changed to make it easier to weed out fraudulent applicants and protect those who come forward with legitimate claims.
Trump said immigrants should be required to learn English and pass a civics test before they can enter the U.S.
Trump described the proposal as “pro-American, pro-immigrant and pro-worker.”
The proposal does not address the estimated 800,000 recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
Pundits have said the proposal is unlikely to gain traction in its current form. They say it is meant to be a starting point in the effort to build bipartisan consensus for comprehensive immigration reform legislation.