The first raids of President Donald Trump’s term caused fear in Texas’ immigrant community as undocumented migrants without criminal records were deported. However, the president has also offered hope of undocumented immigrant reform.
In February, before his speech to Congress, Trump hinted at reform in comments to TV news anchors.
An article in The Texas Tribune alluded to his desire to reach a compromise over immigration. However, the speech itself contained few clues about immigration reform.
Trump’s speech was greeted enthusiastically by Republicans from Texas including Senator Ted Cruz.
However, U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-San Antonio, said the President’s message was a dark and divisive one, although was encouraged by reports of private comments made by Trump. The President suggested he favors a softening of his approach and undocumented immigrant reform.
The president was short on specifics. However, reform could include ways of making life in the United States easier for undocumented immigrants who have not committed crimes. Allowing them to work was one plank of the immigration policies of Trump’s predecessor Barack Obama.
Castro said he hoped Trump would seek to reach a compromise on immigration.
Trump Gives Hints Behind Closed Doors on Undocumented Immigrant Reform
Commentators are divided on how significant Trump’s comments on reform will prove to be. During the election campaign, Trump stressed his opposition to President Obama’s deferred actions on immigration.
Obama’s reforms would have allowed about four million undocumented immigrants to remain in the United States and find work. It was challenged by a group of states and stalled in the U.S. Supreme Court.
Writing in the Boston Herald, Linda Chavez said Trump raised the possibility of an immigration reform. It would result in legal status for as many as 11 million undocumented immigrants. However, the comments were made in an off-the-record briefing.
The caveat would be these immigrants would not have committed serious crimes. The president also said he thought “dreamers,” whose parents brought them illegally to the United States as children, should be given a path to citizenship. While the President then apparently suggested to White House staff that this change of policy should be referenced in his speech to Congress, it was not.
Chavez and other commentators were left asking why the speech was not re-written or Trump did not make a characteristic departure from the script.
Rather than softening his stance on immigration, he doubled down on highlighting crimes committed by unlawful immigrants.
Undocumented immigrant reform remains a fluid situation now. If you or a family member needs advice on an immigration matter, please call our lawyers at Peek & Toland at (512) 474-4445.