Trump Homeland Security chief: Deporting Dreamers won’t be ‘priority’

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) will not prioritize the deportations of immigrants who received protections under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen NielsenKirstjen Michele NielsenDOJ to Supreme Court: Trump decision to end DACA was lawful Top immigration aide experienced 'jolt of electricity to my soul' when Trump announced campaign Trump casts uncertainty over top intelligence role MORE said.

"It's not gonna be a priority of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement to prioritize their removal," Nielsen told "CBS This Morning." "I've said that before. That's not the policy of [Homeland Security]."

She said that DACA recipients who are registered and obey the law would not be considered a priority for removal from the U.S. if lawmakers are unable to strike a deal enshrining the program's protections into law.

ADVERTISEMENT

"If you are a DACA that's compliant with your registration, meaning you haven't committed a crime, and you in fact are registered, you're not priority of enforcement for ICE should the program end," she said.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpThe Hill's Campaign Report: Democratic field begins to shrink ahead of critical stretch To ward off recession, Trump should keep his mouth and smartphone shut Trump: 'Who is our bigger enemy,' Fed chief or Chinese leader? MORE rescinded the Obama-era program, which offered temporary reprieve from deportation and permission to work to certain immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as children, in September.

But lawmakers have struggled to strike a deal that would codify DACA's protections, raising fears among some immigrants that they could be subject to deportation once the program ends.

Trump has said that any deal on DACA also needs to increase border security and provide funding for his long-promised wall between the U.S. and Mexico. 

Nielsen told "CBS This Morning" that she hopes members of Congress reach a deal on legislation to cover the program, which has provided protections to roughy 800,000 immigrants, often called "Dreamers."