Berks

Trump's demands in return for DACA lead to local debate

VIDEO: Trump's demands in return for...

READING, Pa. - President Donald Trump has unveiled a list of demands that he said must be reached in exchange for an agreement on DACA , the program that protected immigrants brought to the United States by their parents.

The demands include money for the border wall, cuts to legal immigration, and measures that make it more difficult for unaccompanied minors to come into the country.

"I have a lot of love for these people. Hopefully, Congress can help them do it," President Trump said in September.

Now, one month after those comments, the president delivered a list of hard-set immigration demands for Congress in exchange for protecting the kids who benefited from the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA. 

The demands include overhauling the country's green card system, a crackdown on unaccompanied minors entering the country, and funding to build a wall along the southern border.

President Trump has said DACA, the Obama-era policy that protects about 800,000 young immigrants from being deported, is unconstitutional and has given Congress six months to fix it.

"If our POTUS believes he can strike a deal and we will get our wall built in exchange for allowing DACA to happen in some way, we are for it 100 percent," said Carla D'Addesi, the head of Berks Republican Women.

D'Addesi said millions would again vote for President Trump. She added that Republicans like U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey and U.S. Reps. Ryan Costello and Charlie Dent need to help the president push his agenda forward.

Dent, who represents part of Berks County, said the deal could also include an immigrant work verification program and relief for the agricultural sector that needs more workers.

He said border security money would go to replacing fencing, adding surveillance technology like drones, and fixing flood control retaining walls, but not to building a wall.

"No one is talking about a 2,000-mile concrete barrier on the southern barrier of the United States. It's not possible. It's not practical. It's not going to happen," said Dent, who is retiring at the end of his current term.

D'Addesi said she would be happy with increased border patrol presence with officers and drones, as well as better fencing.

Democratic Pennsylvania U.S. Bob Casey said if DACA is revoked, it's against American values and would cost the economy $280 billion over the next decade, citing a CATO Institute study.


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