CHARLESTON, W.Va. — U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito says she supports the framework for President Donald Trump’s immigration plan he laid out during his first State the of Union Address, but she does not believe all four parts of his plan will end up in a final bill.
“It’ll be probably be much smaller than what the President’s going for,” Capito (R-W.Va.) said on Wednesday’s MetroNews “Talkline.”
The plan, outlined during the President’s address Tuesday night, includes a pathway to citizenship for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)-eligible undocumented immigrants, border security, an end to the visa lottery program and a limitation to chain migration.
Capito said to ensure bipartisan support, the focus should be on DACA and border security for now.
“In my view, it’s probably going to be some sort of legal status for DACA recipients that gives them the permanence of legal status and then the border security. I think we’re going to end up with those two things at the end of the day,” she said.
Finding a solution to DACA is crucial, Capito said.
“I think we have to be compassionate to figure out what the numbers are,” she said. “We’ve got to settle the issue.”
Right now, the program protects nearly 800,000 unauthorized immigrants that were brought to the United States as children. Trump’s plan includes a pathway to citizenship for nearly 1.8 million immigrants that are either enrolled in or qualify for DACA.
The plan, he said, would give these immigrants a 10 to 12 year period of required “work, education and good moral character” to become an American citizen.
As for the border wall, Trump proposed $25 billion in funding to hire more border patrol agents and immigration judges.
The new chain migration policy would allow immigrants to only sponsor minor children and spouses, according to the President’s plan. The current policy allows immigrants to sponsor additional family members.
The President also highlighted during his speech the recent accomplishments following the passage of the GOP tax reform plan. Capito said she believes the economic growth we’re seeing now is a direct result of the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act passed by Congress in December.
“It’s coming right from the people that are making these decisions,” Capito said of the big companies and small businesses in West Virginia. “They’re saying that this is the reason that we’re moving forward along with a growing economy, so I don’t know how you can deny it.”
Capito, who voted for the tax bill, said people are already starting to benefit from it and that Democrats, like House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, need to realize that.
“She’s disconnected from what the reality of people’s pocketbooks are,” Capito said.
Overall, Capito said she thought Trump did a good job of highlighting all the accomplishments of his presidency so far this year as well as giving Congress a “direction of how we can work together.”
Her hope is that the President can use his Twitter handle to “focus on the issues” in a more respectful way.
“I think if he can go ahead and use the humor and some of the sharp language in the social media that he uses, but put it to the purpose of moving forward the policies that we want to see in a more positive way,” Capito said.