White House: Trump’s DACA decision coming Tuesday
President Trump will announce his decision on whether to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program on Tuesday, the White House announced.
Trump’s decision comes amid mounting pressure and speculation that he will scrap the Obama-era program, which extends temporary deportation relief to people illegally brought to the U.S. as minors who applied for work permits.
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders refused to tip the administration’s hand Friday amid repeated questioning from reporters, saying, “We are in the process of finalizing that decision and those details.”
Members of Congress, including top Republicans like Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), have said Trump should not end the program, although they want Congress to pass a law codifying the practice instead of relying on controversial executive action during the Obama administration.
The White House has been under pressure to make a decision on DACA as 10 states, led by Texas, have threatened court action against the program unless Trump rescinds it by Tuesday.
Sanders on Friday acknowledged that it is a tough decision for the president, who said in earlier in the day that “we love Dreamers,” using a term commonly used to refer to DACA recipients.
“The decision itself is weighing on him,” Sanders said.
“The president’s priorities of immigration are to create a system that encourages legal immigration and benefits our economy and American workers,” she added.
“The president has been very clear he loves people. He wants to make sure that this decision is done correctly. So that’s what he’s doing now, finalizing that part.”
The timing of the announcement has been unclear, with Vice President Pence questioned by a reporter during his visit to storm-ravaged Texas on Thursday for clues on what Trump might decide to do about the program.
White House sources have given conflicting information over the past week to multiple media outlets about when an announcement will be made, creating some confusion as to whether and when Trump could end the Obama-era program.
Trump himself had said earlier in the day Friday that a decision on the fate of the program, established in 2012, could come as soon as Friday afternoon or “sometime over the weekend,” saying it would come Monday “at the latest.”
Trump promised to take a hard line on illegal immigration during his campaign, but has so far kept the program on the books.
“I think that this is a decision that the president doesn’t take lightly,” Sanders said Friday. “He’s taking time and effort to make sure he goes through every bit of the process and he continues to do that and make the announcement Tuesday.”
Some Republicans, like Reps. Carlos Curbelo (Fla.) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (Fla.), have been vocal supporters of extending DACA benefits permanently through legislation.
Other top Republicans including Ryan and Sen. Orrin Hatch (Utah) on Friday spoke out against a potential cancellation.
Ryan asked Trump to leave the issue to Congress, while still arguing that former President Obama’s administration overreached its executive authority in establishing DACA in 2012.
It’s unclear what the White House will decide to do with the program.
A full repeal would leave the nearly-800,000 DACA recipients without protection from deportation, and activists fear the information from their applications could be used by federal authorities to target them.
And ending new applications and renewals — DACA provided a two-year permit — would mean 1,400 DACA recipients would lose their status every day, according to a study by progressive advocacy groups Center for American Progress and FWD.us.
– Rafael Bernal contributed
Updated: 4:30 p.m.
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