US President Donald Trump has called on Democratic and Republican lawmakers to embed "strong" firearm purchase background checks into a prospective immigration reform bill, after two deadly shootings rocked the US over the weekend.
He tweeted on Monday: "Republicans and Democrats must come together and get strong background checks, perhaps marrying this legislation with desperately needed immigration reform. We must have something good, if not GREAT, come out of these two tragic events!"
....this legislation with desperately needed immigration reform. We must have something good, if not GREAT, come out of these two tragic events!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 5, 2019
A man shot 20 people dead at an El Paso shopping centre on Saturday, leaving 26 wounded. Authorities believe the massacre to be an apparently racially-motivated attack, given that the suspect had reportedly published an anti-immigrant manifesto and targeted civilians in a US city on the Mexican border.
In a separate attack on a nightlife district in Dayton, Ohio on Saturday night, a gunman killed 9 people and injured 27 others before being shot dead by police. His motives are still unclear; police say the suspect's sister was among the victims.
Trump, who is set to make a statement to the press at the White House later in the day, has earlier acknowledged that "perhaps more has to be done" with respect to gun control, but did not discuss specific ideas.
The POTUS has long criticised the US immigrant system and plans to steer it towards a more merit-based approach, as opposed to the family-based immigration policy the US has been pursuing for decades.
Although Trump touted his plan as a means of increasing the proportion of highly skilled immigrants in the United States, it appears to say nothing about the 'Dreamers' children of immigrants or those living in the country with a Temporary Protected Status. The Democrats, who have a majority in the House of Representatives, want these two groups of people to become part of American society, and if Donald Trump fails to address his opponents' concerns, they will likely block his proposals.