DeVos: ‘My heart is with’ Dreamers
© Greg Nash

Secretary of Education Betsy DeVosElizabeth (Betsy) Dee DeVosOvernight Regulation: Senate tax bill to include ObamaCare mandate repeal | Sessions sidesteps questions on WH influence on AT&T merger | Dems seek more transparency on student borrower rule Dems call on DeVos to make rewrite of student protection rule public Today’s education system is perfectly designed for no one MORE says her "heart is with" the recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, who may be forced to leave the country after President Trump's decision to rescind the program.

"Well first of all my heart is with them," DeVos told CBS News's Jen Crawford in response to the Department of Justice's announcement earlier this week that Trump will end the program.

"I know this is a very difficult issue, and I know it's one with which the president has struggled, as well as all of us," said DeVos. Trump reportedly wrestled with the issue in office after he had promised to rescind the program as a candidate. 

"We are a nation of compassion, and we are also a nation of laws," DeVos added, echoing Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsFederal judge rules Trump defunding sanctuary cities 'unconstitutional on its face' FBI informant gathered years of evidence on Russian push for US nuclear fuel deals, including Uranium One, memos show Alabama election has GOP racing against the clock MORE's comments when he announced the program's termination. Trump's decision gave Congress a six-month window to replace the program with legislation

The program, which began under former President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaReport: FCC chair to push for complete repeal of net neutrality Right way and wrong way Keystone XL pipeline clears major hurdle despite recent leak MORE, allows undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as minors to remain in the U.S. and apply for work permits, as long as they meet certain requirements. About 800,00 so-called Dreamers currently live in the country.

Trump tweeted Thursday morning, “For all of those (DACA) that are concerned about your status during the 6 month period, you have nothing to worry about — No action!”

Under the terms announced by the Trump administration earlier this week, DACA recipients whose permits expire within the next six months have until Oct. 5 to apply for renewal. But those whose permits run out after the March deadline will see their permits expire unless Congress acts.

"I understand they're here not by their own volition, and yet they are serious about pursuing their education and contributing to our American society and culture. And I would just encourage them to take courage and have courage," DeVos said. 

"[It's] really up — it's Congress's role to pass the laws," DeVos argued. "We are a nation of laws, but we also a compassionate nation. So I hope that they will do their job and address this issue once and for all."

Congress is currently debating potential bills to provide permanent protection for the program's recipients, which has received bipartisan support.