After New Trump Demand for $25 Billion Wall, Lawmaker Fires Back

Immigration activists, including US Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Illinois) (2nd R), stage a protest on the steps of the US Capitol December 6, 2017, in Washington, DC. Activists urged the Congress to pass a clean Dream Act and protect Temporary Protected Status (TPS) beneficiaries before the end of the year. (Photo: Alex Wong / Getty Images) Immigration activists, including US Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Illinois), stage a protest on the steps of the US Capitol December 6, 2017, in Washington, DC. Activists urged the Congress to pass a clean Dream Act and protect Temporary Protected Status beneficiaries before the end of the year. (Photo: Alex Wong / Getty Images)

Following an immigration deal put forth by the Trump administration late Thursday — one which demands $25 billion for a wall and another $5 billion for increased militarization of the border — progressives said the proposal was “dead on arrival,” nothing but a “racist ransom note,” and Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) suggested it would be “far cheaper to erect a 50-foot concrete statue of a middle finger and point it towards Latin America.”

Trump, added Gutierrez, “can’t be trusted to keep his word or maintain position for more than a couple of hours. Every time hardliners inside and outside White House shift his position, we get farther from a deal to serve the will the American people to give Dreamers a way to live here legally.”

Though Trump has said he wants to cut a deal that would protect Dreamers — residents without citizenship who were brought to the US as children — the proposal the White House floated to reporters on Thursday contains a goody bag of hard-line, anti-immigration policies of the kind pushed by Trump advisor Stephen Miller and chief of staff John Kelly. It includes severe cuts to family-based migration policies, termination of the diversity visa program, and more funding for ramped up deportations.

“Let’s call this proposal for what it is: a white supremacist ransom note,” said Greisa Martinez Rosas, advocacy director for United We Dream, which is calling for passage of a “clean” Dream Act and a deal in which undocumented youth are not used as “bargaining chips” to push an unproductive far-right and xenophobic set of immigration policies.

“Trump and Stephen Miller killed DACA and created the crisis that immigrant youth are facing,” Rosas continued. “They have taken immigrant youth hostage, pitting us against our own parents, Black immigrants and our communities in exchange for our dignity. To Miller and Trump’s white supremacist proposal, immigrant youth say: No.”

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) also said the deal was a non-starter and should be rejected:

MoveOn.org, meanwhile, called the proposal a “bill of cruelty” that would do nothing but hold Dreamers hostage and should be “dead on arrival” if a version of it comes to Congress.

“Trump’s proposal seeks to hold the futures of 800,000 Dreamers hostage in order to deport their loved ones and waste taxpayer money on the wall he promised Mexico would pay for,” said Anna Galland, executive director of MoveOn.org Civic Action, in a statement.

“Remember,” Galland added, “it’s Trump who unilaterally chose to rescind DACA. If he cared about Dreamers, Trump could unilaterally decide to keep it in place. Despite saying he would deal with Dreamers with ‘great heart,’ he has proven time and again that he is more concerned about ticking off the items on John Kelly, Stephen Miller, and the nativist movement’s deportation agenda.”

And Rosas offered this message to lawmakers in Congress: “Let us be clear: any politician who backs up this ransom note is enabling Trump and Miller’s white supremacist agenda. Members of Congress of conscience must make the moral choice to reject this white supremacist proposal and pass legislation that protects us without harming others. Dream Act now.”