Activists scramble amid reports Trump to end protections for ‘Dreamers’

Supporters of an Obama-era program protecting so-called “Dreamers” from deportation are scrambling amid reports that President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump suggests some states may 'pay nothing' as part of unemployment plan Trump denies White House asked about adding him to Mount Rushmore Trump, US face pivotal UN vote on Iran MORE is close to ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

NBC News’s Pete Williams and Julia Ainsley reported Friday that Trump appears poised to pull the plug on the program that would affect nearly 1 million people.

The Department of Homeland Security sent a recommendation to the White House earlier this week about the program, NBC reported, while Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsThe 'pitcher of warm spit' — Veepstakes and the fate of Mike Pence FBI officials hid copies of Russia probe documents fearing Trump interference: book Tuberville breaks DC self-quarantine policy to campaign MORE met with senior officials Thursday at the White House.


Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) has threatened to challenge DACA in court if the Trump administration doesn't rescind it by Sept. 5.

The NBC report followed a report by Axios on Thursday that Trump is “seriously considering” terminating the program.

Lawmakers and activists who want the program's recipients to retain their benefits have been pushing back.

Activists held a rally outside the White House on Friday demanding that Trump maintain and defend DACA. It was the second such rally in 10 days, after an Aug. 15 rally celebrating the program's fifth anniversary ended in the arrest of Rep. Luis Gutiérrez (D-Ill.).

Rep. Jeff Denham (R-Calif.) and five other Republican members wrote to Trump on Thursday asking him to maintain the program, arguing DACA recipients did not willfully violate the law and contribute positively to the U.S. economy.

“It is in the best interest of our nation to continue DACA until we can pass a permanent legislative solution, such as the Republican-backed Recognizing America's Children Act,” read the letter.

The letter was also signed by Reps. Dan Donovan (N.Y.), Carlos Curbelo (Fla.), David Valadao (Calif.), Don Bacon (Neb.) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (Fla.).

DACA was enacted by President Obama and gave work permits and deferral from deportation to nearly 800,000 immigrants brought into the country illegally as children.

 The White House on Friday didn’t say what the future held for DACA.

“[DACA] is under review, it continues to be under review and as soon as we have an announcement we'll let you know,” said White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

Activists are taking a stronger tone in their defense of DACA.

“There’s no defensible reason for Donald Trump to end DACA. Any attempt to undermine this program would be an attack on immigrant communities and a clear sign that the president cares more about his standing among the kinds of far-right zealots we saw in Charlottesville than the lives of young people all across the country,” read a statement released Friday by People for the American Way (PFAW).

The potential lawsuit, threatened by Paxton and nine other attorneys general, is expected to follow the path laid out by a successful court action against another Obama program, Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA).

That program was never put into action, because it was blocked by U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen, who's expected to preside over the DACA lawsuit.

But there's debate as to whether DACA’s opponents can successfully file for an injunction, as plaintiffs would have to prove the program is damaging to them, a tough sell for a program that’s been in effect for five years.

And the administration's reluctance to defend DACA has contributed to a split between Trump and Senate Republicans, some of whom have made it a priority to defend the program's recipients.

Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamSeveral GOP lawmakers express concern over Trump executive orders Graham says he appreciates Trump orders, but 'would much prefer a congressional agreement' Sunday shows preview: White House, congressional Democrats unable to breach stalemate over coronavirus relief MORE (R-S.C.) teamed up with Sen. Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinWhite House officials, Democrats spar over legality, substance of executive orders Sunday shows - Trump coronavirus executive orders reverberate Durbin blasts Trump's 'country-club fix' on unemployment MORE (D-Ill.) to promote the Dream Act, which would essentially put DACA into law.

And Trump has taken aim at Republicans who have expressed sympathy for DACA recipients, most notably Sen. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeCheney clashes with Trump Sessions-Tuberville Senate runoff heats up in Alabama GOP lawmakers stick to Trump amid new criticism MORE (R-Ariz.), who on Thursday said a border wall — Trump's signature border security proposal — is “a bit out there.”

Still, DACA activists are taking the threat to rescind the program seriously.

“If news reports are true, and DACA may soon be rescinded, Trump will have broken that promise and ripped the rug out from under 800,000 young people that are woven into the fabric of our communities and families,” said Center for American Progress President and CEO Neera Tanden. “It’s shocking and outrageous but not surprising, especially given the recent events in Charlottesville and the administration’s continued assault on communities of color.”