Washington, Jan 20 (IANS) US President Donald Trump has set out new plans on his Mexican wall project to try to end a partial government shutdown lasting more than four weeks.
One of his “compromises” was on so-called Dreamers — who entered the US illegally when young. He still wants $5.7 billion to fund the wall, the BBC reported on Saturday.
Democrats have refused to fund it and ahead of the speech had already rejected the expected concessions.
The shutdown, the longest in history, has affected 800,000 federal workers.
The President started by saying the US had a proud history of welcoming migrants, but that the system had been “badly broken for a very long time”.
He said he was “here to break the logjam and provide Congress with a path forward to end the government shutdown”.
He again spelled out his reasons for building the wall and stressed it was not a continuous structure, just one of steel barriers in high-priority areas. But the demand for $5.7 billion to fund it remains.
The two new ideas concerned the Dreamers and Temporary Protection Status (TPS) holders.
There are some 700,000 Dreamers, who were young when they entered the US with their parents illegally,
The Dreamers are currently protected from deportation under a programme that allows them to work but not get citizenship. It is a programme Trump has been trying to rescind.
But he said he would extend protection for Dreamers for another three years, allowing them continued access to work permits.
He said he would also extend the visas for TPS holders for three years. More than 300,000 people from countries affected by war or disasters are allowed to work in the US under TPS, another system Trump has opposed.
There were other proposals, including $800 million in urgent humanitarian assistance, 2,750 more border agents and security officials and 75 new immigration judge teams. Certainly, the latter conforms largely with Democrat suggestions.
The President said his proposals were “reasonable with lots of compromise” and would “build trust and goodwill”.