Trump Proposal Isn't Real Compromise, Advocacy Group Head Says

17 hours ago
Originally published on January 21, 2019 8:10 am
Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

All right. We turn now to Cristina Jimenez. She is executive director of United We Dream, a group that advocates for young immigrants in the United States. She is a former DACA recipient herself, and she opposes President Trump's offer. Thanks so much for being with us this morning.

CRISTINA JIMENEZ: Great to be here.

MARTIN: Can you explain how you view President Trump's proposal. What's wrong with it, in your opinion?

JIMENEZ: For us, we are not going to fall into this trick. The proposal that the president laid out, it's more than the over $5 billion for a wall. He also wants more millions for more agents that are already terrorizing our communities. These will mean more detentions in our communities and even more kids in cages. And, as we know, there are 15,000 of them still in cages, those kids that have been separated by this administration from their families. So for us, it's a clear no to this proposal. If the president really wants to protect immigrant youth impacted by DACA, families impacted by TPS, which - both programs which he terminated himself, he could reopen the government and start having a real conversation with Congress.

MARTIN: We should just point out that calling for more border security agents is something Democrats have also said that they want. I mean, the president calls this a commonsense compromise. Isn't this what compromise looks like, sides making concessions? Both sides aren't going to be happy? DACA protection, even if it's temporary, is something that I imagine would ease the nerves of a lot of people whom you advocate for.

JIMENEZ: Well, you know, we are living under a constant state of terror and fear in our communities. And that has been since Day One that this administration took power in 2016. It is not a compromise when what you keep pushing for, like the president is doing in this case, is the same list of anti-immigrant policies that him and Stephen Miller have been sending to Congress since last year. It is the same list. So when you are pushing the same list of policies and have also rejected every bipartisan proposal to provide a permanent legislation that will protect immigrant youth and others, we know that this is not a real compromise.

MARTIN: Is that something that would change your mind, if the president said - we have no indication at this point that he would, but - if he offered a permanent DACA fix, a pathway to citizenship for DACA recipients, would you accept funding for a border wall then?

JIMENEZ: The conversation for us is for Congress to have a conversation about solutions that will be permanent without hurting our communities, without more agents and without terrorizing our communities more. And we're open to have that conversation.

MARTIN: Does that mean, yes, if a permanent DACA fix were floated, that's something you would accept or at least consider?

JIMENEZ: We'll be open to the conversation.

MARTIN: Cristina Jimenez, executive director of United We Dream. It's an advocacy group led by immigrant youth. Thank you so much for being with us this morning. We really appreciate it.

JIMENEZ: Great to be here. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.