US President Donald Trump has presented a new hardline immigration proposal to Congress, which includes building a controversial border wall, speeding up deportations and dramatically increasing the number of officials involved in enforcement.
The document calls for preventing immigrants from sponsoring their extended families in moving legally to the US and limiting such green cards to spouses and children. It also outlines the closing of "loopholes" that prevent the deportation of children who enter the country illegally.
The White House has also addressed the issue of people who came to the US as children - known as Dreamers.
The Trump administration has sought funding for border wall in exchange for a deal that Democrats have pushed to provide legal protection to some 690,000 "Dreamers", who came to the country illegally as children. Last month, Trump scrapped an amnesty programme for young immigrants enacted by former President Barack Obama.
"These findings outline reforms that must be included as part of any legislation addressing the status of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients," Trump wrote in a letter to Congress accompanying the list, using the official name for the amnesty order.
The White House list is topped by "border security," a category that includes building a massive wall on the southern US border, which Trump promised would be paid for by Mexico, although Mexico has said it will not do so.
Trump also wants to dramatically ramp up the number of officials involved in enforcement, hiring an additional 10,000 Immigrations and Customs Enforcement officers and 1,000 lawyers, 370 immigration judges and 300 federal prosecutors.
The documents call for tighter standards for those seeking US asylum, denial of federal grants to "sanctuary cities" that serve as a refuge for illegal immigrants.
Trump wants to ramp up the number of officials involved in enforcement, hiring an additional 10,000 Immigrations and Customs Enforcement officers and 1,000 attorneys, 370 immigration judges and 300 federal prosecutors.
Trump told Congress it had six months to come up with legislation to help Dreamers, who are a fraction of the 11 million mostly Hispanic illegal immigrants in the US.
Other proposals include cracking down on people who overstay visas, restricting asylum and expanding criteria that would make a person inadmissible to the US.
Trump's list was criticised by Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi, the respective Democratic leaders in the Senate and House.
"This proposal fails to represent any attempt at compromise," the legislators said in a joint statement.
"The list includes the wall, which was explicitly ruled out of the negotiations. If the president was serious about protecting the Dreamers, his staff has not made a good faith effort to do so."
The president has previously insisted the wall will go ahead and that he wants "massive border security" in exchange for a deal on DACA protections.
Trump has made toughening immigration regulations a central part of his first year in office, also issuing several versions of a controversial travel ban that has been criticised for targeting Muslim-majority countries and subject to numerous legal challenges.
The latest version, which was unveiled last month, bans citizens of Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria and Yemen from entering the US.
|Trump has made toughening immigration regulations a central part of his first year in office [David McNew/Getty Images]|
Source: Al Jazeera News