Michael Dougherty, a Homeland Security official has testified during a Senate hearing this week that the Trump administration will back a citizenship path for the DACA recipients, nearing 800,000 people.
But later it was stated to Reuters that Dougherty, the assistant secretary for border, immigration and trade policy, was not, in fact, stating administration policy.
“The president was very clear. Any effort to codify DACA needs to, one, be limited to DACA so the first criteria under the law should be you have a DACA permit today,” Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) said in an interview Tuesday. “Second, any deal has to end chain migration. And then third, it ought to include some kind of enhanced measures, whether it’s on the border or interior enforcement or what have you.”
Trump announced last month that the DACA program for illegal immigrants who arrived as minors would stop processing new applications in six months and that current beneficiaries’ protection would be phased out. “Congress now has 6 months to legalize DACA (something the Obama Administration was unable to do),” Trump tweeted. “If they can’t, I will revisit this issue!”
Tyler Houlton, the DHS spokesman who clarified Dougherty’s remarks, told Reuters, “The White House will be issuing its priorities for immigration reform in the coming week.”
The White House has had differing messages at times about whether it supports a path to citizenship. Last month, a spokeswoman said that Trump will consider a “responsible path forward,” and that that potentially includes “legal citizenship over a period of time.”
Republican Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton, who backs a path to citizenship for the DACA beneficiaries, told Politico Tuesday about a discussion over dinner with Trump about a potential amnesty deal.
Cotton said that Trump wants any potential deal to limit legal immigration by stopping a process known as chain migration and for it to “include some kind of enhanced measures, whether it’s on the border or interior enforcement or what have you.”