President Trump announced Tuesday that his administration would end an Obama-era program that allowed young undocumented immigrants to live in the country without fear of deportation, calling the program unconstitutional and challenging Congress to address the issue.
Trump’s decision, coming after weeks of intensive deliberations with aides, sparked fears among advocates that nearly 800,000 immigrants who have lived illegally in the United States since they were children would be subject to removal once their government-issued work permits expire under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
The president and his top advisers said they had no choice but to end DACA, framing it as an abuse of executive power by President Barack Obama that was unlikely to survive a legal challenge. They called on lawmakers to determine the ultimate fate of DACA recipients, known as “dreamers,” and emphasized that no work permits would be revoked for at least six months to give Congress time to act.
In a sign of the political sensitivities involved, Trump did not make public remarks, deferring to Attorney General Jeff Sessions to unveil the decision at the Justice Department.
In a written statement, Trump asserted that Obama made “an end-run around Congress” that violated “the core tenets that sustain our Republic.” He added that there can be “no path to principled immigration reform if the executive branch is able to rewrite or nullify federal laws at will.”
A wide array of politicians, civic leaders and business executives spoke out against Trump’s move, including the Mexican government, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and the Catholic Charities of New York. Some Democrats, including New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman, vowed to pursue legal action to protect the dreamers.
In a lengthy post on his Facebook page, Obama called Trump’s move “cruel” and said it represented a “political decision” to a “moral question.”
“Ultimately,” Obama wrote, “this is about basic decency. This is about whether we are a people who kick hopeful young strivers out of America, or whether we treat them the way we’d want our own kids to be treated. It’s about who we are as a people — and who we want to be.”
Senior officials at the Department of Homeland Security said the agency would no longer accept new applications for DACA other than those submitted before Tuesday. Immigrants enrolled in the program will be permitted to continue until their two-year work permits expire. And those whose permits expire through March 5, 2018, are allowed to seek renewals provided they do so by Oct. 5, officials said.
Read more at the Washington Post.