Ivanka Trump calls on Congress to act on immigration

Posted at 6:51 AM, Oct 10, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-10 06:51:07-04

Ivanka Trump waded into the immigration debate Monday evening, calling the fate of immigrants who have been covered by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program a “very complicated issue.”

“You do have the question of the Dreamers: 800,000 young people, most of whom are under 25, most of whom are women. What role should the Dreamers be playing in the future workforce?” moderator Nina Easton asked Trump during a panel discussion at Fortune’s Most Powerful Women Summit.

“This is a very complicated issue that needs a long-term congressional fix,” she said, prompting murmurs from the audience, which included female business powerhouses, including Diane Von Furstenberg and Sheryl Sandberg.

Monday’s response was the first time Ivanka Trump has addressed the topic of immigration since her father took office, usually opting to stay away from controversial political topics.

President Donald Trump announced he would end the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which protects young undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children, at the beginning of last month, but gave Congress a six-month window in which to act to make the program permanent.

The first daughter and senior adviser to the President echoed her father’s public statements on the future of the DACA program, and called on Congress to act.

“I personally am of the opinion and the President has stated that we have to figure out a good solution that protects these innocent people, many of whom were brought into this country as children. There has to be a long-term fix and it cannot be bandaged over at a presidential level through another executive order that can be rescinded through another administration,” Ivanka Trump said Monday.

On Sunday night, the White House released an aggressive list of priorities for a deal to protect young undocumented immigrants, including tough border security and immigration enforcement measures.

“Our system is flawed, and it is not equipped to handle the challenges, and our visa program is deeply flawed. We’re not retaining the best talent for the jobs that we need and that has to fundamentally be reconsidered,” Trump said.

Trump was at the summit to discuss workforce development and the future of work. She has called skills-based training an “enormous priority” for her father’s administration.

On Monday, she also pointed to the lack of affordable child care as “enormously prohibitive to women in the workforce,” saying it’s something she’s working to tackle with the administration’s push on tax reform.

Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar, delivering a keynote speech earlier in the event, also called for comprehensive immigration reform. Klobuchar, from Minnesota, recently attended a bipartisan dinner at Trump’s Washington home, according to a White House official.

After her remarks, Trump worked the room, exchanging pleasantries with Klobuchar and Arianna Huffington, among others. She stayed for the dinner, seated at a table with Fortune’s Alan Murray and Katie Telford, chief of staff to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Trump first took an interest in apprenticeships and vocational training while meeting voters on the campaign trail, she told reporters during the White House’s “Workforce Development Week” in June. She also toured a Siemens apprenticeship training center while visiting Germany in April at the invitation of Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The first daughter has made workforce development a key component of her West Wing portfolio, which also includes women’s economic empowerment, ending human trafficking and promoting STEM and computer science education.