AILA: White House Principles on Immigration Fail America

George Tzamaras
Belle Woods

WASHINGTON, D.C. -The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) condemned the Trump administration's "Immigration Principles and Priorities" released on October 8, 2017, as destructive and unworkable. AILA reaffirms its commitment and support for real bipartisan immigration reform to increase our country's shared prosperity and restore our legacy as a nation welcoming to immigrants.

"The principles released by the White House are an attack on the fundamental truths that have built this nation of immigrants," said Annaluisa Padilla, AILA President. "This crass political gambit does nothing to move the difficult but greatly needed conversation on immigration forward. The proposals themselves would make our outdated and complex immigration system worse, and hinder the balanced and just reform that our immigration system so desperately needs. There is sweeping and unprecedented support for offering Dreamers a path forward here in America. Congress must not allow the extremist anti-immigrant voices in the Trump administration to hold Dreamers hostage."

AILA Executive Director Benjamin Johnson noted, "The list of priorities and principles released by the White House reflects a fundamental misunderstanding of the valuable role that immigrants play in our society and in building our economy as well as a shocking disregard for the principles of due process and proportionality that are the bedrock of the American judicial system. The vast majority of Americans want to see Dreamers protected and given a path to citizenship without piling on extremist provisions that will inevitably sink any legislative efforts. It is time for Congress to stop playing politics with the lives of these kids and do what they were elected to do: solve problems, not create bigger ones. The American public needs to tell Congress to pitch this venomous and reprehensible document on the trash heap of history where it belongs."

Among other things, the White House calls for:

  • Wasteful and unnecessary spending on a border wall, thousands of additional interior enforcement agents, and massive expansion of detention beds when American taxpayers are already spending unprecedented amounts on immigration enforcement.
  • Stripping unaccompanied children who flee to safety in the U.S. of the protections enshrined in the trafficking law enacted in 2008.
  • Restricting access to the asylum system in a way that closes America's doors to asylum seekers and those fleeing persecution and conflict.
  • Chipping away at the principles of due process and fairness by expediting removal of immigrants without allowing them a day in court
  • Forcing immigration judges to rush cases that do make it to court and depriving immigrants of due process.
  • Attempting to force so-called "sanctuary cities" to follow unconstitutional policies or risk losing vital federal funding for local law enforcement that would make communities safer.
  • Criminalizing visa overstays in a way that will hurt families, and businesses.
  • Drastically reducing legal immigration and virtually eliminating the economic and business needs and role of U.S. employers in the green card process.
  • Severely limiting one of the foundations of America's economic success: family-based immigration.


The American Immigration Lawyers Association is the national association of immigration lawyers established to promote justice, advocate for fair and reasonable immigration law and policy, advance the quality of immigration and nationality law and practice, and enhance the professional development of its members.

Cite as AILA Doc. No. 17100977.