President Donald Trump is likely to rescind an Obama-era policy that protects nearly 800,000 immigrants who were brought into the country illegally by their parents and are known as “Dreamers,” according to media reports on Friday.
Trump’s decision on whether to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, policy could be announced as early as next week, reported ABC News, citing multiple sources.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions discussed the program with senior White House officials on Thursday, and the Department of Homeland Security sent the White House a recommendation on what to do earlier this week, according to NBC.
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters Friday that the program continues to be under review.
Trump has wavered back and forth on his position on the controversial program. Throughout his presidential campaign, Trump vowed repeatedly to terminate DACA, but in the early months of his presidency conceded his view on the issue was more nuanced.
“We are going to deal with DACA with heart,” Trump told media at a press conference in February, adding that the issue is “very, very difficult.”
“To me, it’s one of the most difficult subjects I have because you have these incredible kids – in many cases, not in all cases,” he continued. “But you have some absolutely incredible kids – I would say mostly – they were brought here in such a way. It’s a very, very tough subject.”
Immigration advocates have pleaded with Trump to keep the program, arguing that the young people who benefit from the program were brought to the US often at very young ages, some of whom grew up without realizing they were living in the country illegally.
Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez said it would be a “moral disgrace” to end the DACA policy. “America is the only country these DREAMers call home, and they don’t deserve to be thrown back in the shadows,” Perez said in a statement.
Ten Republican state attorneys general in June urged the Trump administration to rescind the DACA program going forward, while noting that the government did not have to revoke permits that had already been issued.
If the federal government did not withdraw DACA by September 5, the attorneys general said they would file a legal challenge to the program in a Texas federal court.
The 10 who signed the letter represent the states of Texas, Louisiana, Alabama, Nebraska, Arkansas, South Carolina, Idaho, Tennessee, West Virginia, and Kansas.
A larger coalition of 26 Republican attorneys general had challenged the Obama-era policy covering illegal immigrant parents, known as DAPA, that had been blocked by the courts before it took effect. The Department of Homeland Security rescinded that policy earlier this month.