President Donald Trump’s immigration proposal was released this week, which included details about a pathway to citizenship for recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program and the status of the border wall at the U.S. – Mexico border.
The 10-12 year path to citizenship process will be available to DACA program and other “DACA-eligible illegal immigrants,” according to the memo sent to the congressional Republicans. In exchange for granting citizenship, the White House is requesting $25 billion to go toward building the wall. Legal immigration will also see some changes by prioritizing family members who are spouses and minor children. The visa lottery system will also meet its end if the proposal is passed.
Belén Sisa, a student at Arizona State University and DACA recipient, says it’s been an emotional rollercoaster. She says DREAMers, including herself, are pushing for standalone bill, known as a Clean DREAM Act, which will provide them with permanent protection including citizenship “without throwing our communities and our families under the bus which is what we’re seeing now.”
Since 1956, there have been three pillars when it comes to immigration, one of those being the Pillar of Family Reunification, says Professor at Sandra Day O’Conner College of Law Evelyn Cruz. Every country receives an allocation of visas, and U.S. citizens are allowed to immigrate their family into the country. That completely changes with Trump’s proposal.
“I think it is a mask to use us to fulfill his own agenda which is a white supremacist agenda,” Sisa says. “He doesn’t want specific people to come to this country which are family members. We Dreamers, DACA recipients, would not be who we are if it wasn’t for our families. We want them to stay with us. We want our families to not be separated anymore.”
Sisa says that her family and friends who would be affected by the proposal have mixed reactions because the plan is confusing. The reason Dreamers are in the country, she says, is because their parents wanted them to have the best life and best opportunities so it’s not right that they aren’t being treated fairly.
Trump also includes a $25 billion wall in his proposal. However, it’s not just the wall. Cruz says the president “wants to revamp the judicial system, limit the amount of checks and balances we have on the deportation of individuals.’
You can read the proposal from the White House’s website here.
TED SIMONS: JOINING US NOW TO TALK ABOUT THE PRESIDENT'S IMMIGRATION IDEAS AND HOW THEY WOULD IMPACT DACA RECIPIENTS IS EVELYN CRUZ, A PROFESSOR AT ASU'S O'CONNOR COLLEGE OF LAW, AND ASU STUDENT AND DACA RECIPIENT BELEN SISA. GOOD TO HAVE YOU BOTH HERE. THANKS FOR JOINING US.
TED SIMONS: PATHWAY TO CITIZENSHIP, IT'S STILL VAGUE, A FRAMEWORK AT BEST, BUT THE IDEA OF PATHWAY TO CITIZENSHIP, WHO WOULD QUALIFY? IS IT THE SAME STANDARDS?
EVELYN CRUZ: NOT QUITE SURE WHERE THE CALCULATIONS HAVE BEEN MADE. THE UNDERSTANDING IS THAT THOSE THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN ABLE TO QUALIFY FOR DACA ONE, I REMEMBER THAT PRESIDENT OBAMA CHANGED IT TO DACA TO INCLUDE MORE INDIVIDUALS, BUT THOSE WHO QUALIFY FOR DACA ONE WHO APPLIED OR DID NOT APPLY WOULD BE ABLE TO QUALIFY UNDER THE PROPOSAL.
TED SIMONS: SO WE ARE TALKING ABOUT WHEN THEY ENTERED THE U.S -- HIGH SCHOOL EDUCATION, IT COULD BE REVOKABLE IF IT'S CRIMINAL BEHAVE, THOSE SORT OF THINGS?
EVELYN CRUZ: EVERY WAY YOU OBTAIN STATUS IN THE UNITED STATES, WHETHER IT’S A PERMANENT STATUS OR A TEMPORARY STATUS, YOU HAVE TO GO THROUGH A BACKGROUND CHECK. THEY'LL FINGERPRINT EVERY INDIVIDUAL TO CHECK IF THERE IS ANYTHING IN THEIR PAST. AND NATURALLY IF AFTER THEY GET STATUS THEY CREATE SOME KIND OF PROBLEM, THAT MAKES THEM POSSIBLE TO BE DEPORTED AND LOSE THE STATUS.
TED SIMONS: HOW LONG DOES THE PROCESS TAKE, GENERALLY?
EVELYN CRUZ: WE DON'T KNOW.
TED SIMONS: AS FAR AS DACA RECIPIENTS?
EVELYN CRUZ: UNDER HIS PROPOSAL, THE IDEA IS THAT THEY WOULD GO THROUGH DIFFERENT STAGES OF STATUSES. THAT WOULD TAKE A NUMBER OF YEARS. THE MORE CONVOLUTED YOU MAKE IT, THE MORE PROBLEMATIC IT WILL BECOME HAVING EXPERIENCE IN 1986 RULES WHERE THEY HAD THAT STEP BY STEP WHICH ENDED UP CREATING PROBLEMS FOR 20 YEARS FOR US. I HOPEING THAT THAT WILL BE REVISED TO A SIMPLER METHOD.
TED SIMONS: I WOULD IMAGINE THE MORE PROBLEMATIC YOU MAKE, THE MORE ANXIETY IT PRODUCES FOR DREAMERS. WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT ALL OF THIS?
BELEN SISA: WE ARE AT A POINT WHERE WE ARE ON AN EMOTIONAL ROLLERCOASTER OF LET’S JUST FIND A PERMANENT SOLUTION, LET’S GET SOMETHING THAT OUR COMMUNITY DESERVES. WE HAVE BEEN HERE OUR WHOLE LIVES. WE HAVE BEEN FIGHTING FOR THIS SINCE THE DREAM ACT WAS INTRODUCED IN 2001. IT'S TIME FOR A PERMANENT SOLUTION. WE HAVE BEEN ON A ROLLERCOASTER SINCE SEPTEMBER 5TH, SINCE DACA WAS TAKEN AWAY. WHAT WE HAVE BEEN PUSHING FOR IS A SOLUTION THAT’S CALLED A CLEAN DREAM ACT, SOMETHING THAT WILL GIVE US THE PERMANENT PROTECTION THAT WE DESERVE INCLUDING CITIZENSHIP, BUT WITHOUT THROWING OUR COMMUNITIES AND OUR FAMILIES UNDER THE BUS WHICH IS WHAT WE ARE SEEING NOW.
TED SIMONS: LET’S TALK ABOUT THAT PARTICULAR BUS. THIS PLAN BY THE PRESIDENT ENDS FAMILY BASED MIGRATION OR AS HE CALLS IT CHAIN MIGRATION. WHAT ARE WE TALKING ABOUT HERE?
EVELYN CRUZ: SINCE 1956 WE CHANGED OUR SYSTEM INTO THREE PILLARS. THE PILLAR OF FAMILY REUNIFICATION. THE IDEA THAT EVERY COUNTRY, WHETHER YOU’RE LUXENBURG OR MEXICO OR CANADA GETS A LOCATION OF VISAS FOR COUNTRY, AND WE ALLOW THAT NUMBER FROM THAT PARTICULAR COUNTRY. IF YOU RUN OUT, YOU STAY IN LINE UNTIL THE NEXT YEAR WHEN THEY REFILL THE VISAS. THAT CATEGORY THAT FITS UNDER THAT, IF YOU ARE A U.S. CITIZEN, YOU ARE ALLOWED TO IMMIGRANT, YOUR PARENTS, YOUR KIDS AND YOUR SIBLINGS. THERE ARE RULES THAT MAKE IT A VERY LONG PERIOD OF TIME TO BE ABLE TO IMMIGRATE YOUR PARENTS OR YOUR SIBLINGS. IF YOU ARE NOT A PERMANENT RESIDENT YOU CAN ALSO IMMIGRATE YOUR SPOUSE OR KIDS THAT ARE NOT MARRIED.
TED SIMONS: WHEN THE PRESIDENT SAYS IT'S TIME TO END THIS, WHAT DO YOU THINK?
BELEN SISA: I THINK IT'S A MASK TO USE US TO FULFILL HIS OWN AGENDA, WHICH IS A WHITE SUPREMACISTS AGENDA. HE DOESN'T WANT SPECIFIC PEOPLE TO COME TO THIS COUNTRY, WHICH ARE FAMILY MEMBERS. WE DREAMERS, DACA RECIPIENTS, WOULDN'T BE WHO WE ARE IF IT WASN’T FOR OUR FAMILIES. WE WANT THEM TO STAY WITH US, WE WANT OUR FAMILIES TO NOT BE SEPARATED ANYMORE.
TED SIMONS: WHAT ARE YOU HEARING FROM FAMILY MEMBERS, YOUR FAMILY MEMBERS, AND FAMILY MEMBERS OF ACQUAINTANCES?
BELEN SISA: IT'S A MIXED REACTION FROM THEM. SO MUCH IS GOING ON THAT IT'S CONFUSING PEOPLE. WHAT OUR PARENTS WANT IS FOR US TO HAVE THE BEST LIFE AND THE BEST OPPORTUNITIES. THAT'S THE REASON WHY THEY BROUGHT US HERE. THEY ARE WILLING TO SACRIFICE THAT MUCH FOR US TO BE ABLE TO HAVE A GOOD LIFE. THAT'S NOT WHAT THEY DESERVE AND THAT'S NOT WHAT WE ARE ASKING FOR.
TED SIMONS: ONE MORE ASPECT OF THE PLAN, BORDER SECURITY, $25 MILLION FOR BORDER SECURITY, MOST OF IT GOING I GUESS FOR A WALL. IT SEEMS LIKE -- HE'S PRESSING ON THE WALL. HE WANTS THIS DONE. IT'S A CAMPAIGN PROMISE AND HE WANTS THIS DONE. HOW REALISTIC IS THIS?
EVELYN CRUZ: IF I MAY ADD, IT'S NOT JUST THE WALL. HE ALSO WANTS TO REVAMP THE JUDICIAL SYSTEM TO LIMIT THE AMOUNT OF CHECKS AND BALANCES WE HAVE ON THE DEPORTATION OF INDIVIDUALS. THE CONCERN ABOUT THE WALL IS THE VISIBILITY OF IT AND WHETHER WE ARE WASTING TAXPAYER MONEY ON IT. IN PART BECAUSE WHAT WE HAVE SEEN SO FAR DOES NOT GIVE US ANY INDICATION AS TO HOW THEY WILL MAKE THE DECISION AS TO WHETHER OR NOT SOMETHING IS A WORTHY EXPENDITURE OR NOT.
TED SIMONS: THE WHITE HOUSE SAYS THAT ALL OF THESE THINGS WE HAVE TALKED ABOUT ARE POPULAR, COMMON SENSE REFORMS. WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THAT?
EVELYN CRUZ: FAMILY MIGRATION IS THE BASIS OF OUR COUNTRY. PEOPLE HAVE BEEN COMING TO THE UNITED STATES TO BE REUNITED WITH THEIR FAMILIES. IT PROVIDES THAT SAFETY NET FOR THEM TO BE ABLE TO ACCOMMODATE THEMSELVES INTO THE SOCIETY. I'M A CHILD OF THAT MIGRATION. A LOT OF US ARE. MOST COUNTRIES HAVE THREE TYPES OF MIGRATION, EMPLOYMENT, FAMILY REUNIFICATION AND HUMANITARIAN. THAT'S THE REALM IN EVERY OTHER COUNTRY, LIKELIHOOD THAT WE ARE GOING TO HAVE INDIVIDUALS WHO ARE OF HIGH CALIBER DECIDE TO COME TO THE UNITED STATES VISA VIA CANADA WHERE THEY CAN INTEGRATE THEIR SPOUSES AS WELL AS THEIR PARENTS, WE'LL LOSE THOSE INDIVIDUALS TO THOSE COUNTRIES.
TED SIMONS: WHEN YOU HEAR THE WHITE HOUSE SAY THESE ARE COMMON SENSE AND POPULAR REFORMS, WHAT DO YOU THINK?
BELEN SISA: I DON'T THINK THEY ARE COMMON SENSE AT ALL. I AGREE THAT WE NEED A SOLUTION LIKE TRUMP SAID IN THE PREVIOUS VIDEO THAT WE JUST SAW, BUT THIS ISN'T HOW YOU DO IT. WE WANT A DREAM ACT THAT WILL GIVE US PROTECTION, GIVE US CITIZENSHIP AND ALLOW US TO STAY IN THE COUNTRY WE CALL HOME WITHOUT THROWING OTHER PEOPLE UNDER THE BUS, LIKE I SAID. WHAT WE ARE SPECIFICALLY ASKING FOR IS FOR DEMOCRATS AND REPUBLICANS TO ADD THIS TO THE SPENDING BILL, NOT LEAVE THIS UP TO THE HOUSE BECAUSE SPEAKER RYAN SAID HE WON'T PUT UP A BI-PARTISAN BILL. WE WANT SOMETHING FAIR AND THAT GIVES HUMANITY AND RESPECT TO THE IMMIGRANT COMMUNITY IN THE UNITED STATES.
TED SIMONS: LAST QUESTION HERE, AND YOU REFERRED TO THIS EARLIER, DOES IT FEEL AS THOUGH THE PATHWAY TO CITIZENSHIP IS SOMEHOW BEING USED AS A BARGAINING CHIP, A TOOL TO TEAR APART IMMIGRATION AS WE KNOW IT NOW?
EVELYN CRUZ: FROM THE BEGINNING THE PRESIDENT HAS BEEN AGAINST MIGRATION, LEGAL AND ILLEGAL MIGRATION. CREATING A -- TERMINATING, RATHER, A NUMBER OF THE WAYS THE PEOPLE UNIFY WITH THEIR FAMILY MEMBERS WILL INCREASE THE NUMBER OF UNDOCUMENTED, NOT DECREASE. THE INDIVIDUALS WILL STILL COME TO THE STATES AND BE UNDOCUMENTED. AS UNDOCUMENTED, HE WILL HAVE MORE FREE HAND TO SAY LOOK HOW BAD THEY ARE, OPPOSED TO HOW LOOK AT THE IMMIGRANTS THAT ARE HERE LEGALLY SHOULDN'T BE HERE. THAT'S A HARDER THING TO SELL. IF HE'S ABLE TO NOT DEAL WITH THAT ANY LONGER, THAT WOULD BE EASIER.
TED SIMONS: WE HAVE TO STOP YOU THERE. THANK YOU FOR JOINING US. THANK YOU FOR BEING HERE. COMING UP, A LOOK AT THE GROWING WINE INDUSTRY IN SOUTHEASTERN ARIZONA.
Evelyn Cruz: Professor, Sandra Day O'Conner College of Law
Belen Sisa: ASU Student, DACA Recipient