President Trump says he will “revisit” his decision to eliminate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program if Congress is incapable of taking action on the issue.
Congress now has 6 months to legalize DACA (something the Obama Administration was unable to do). If they can't, I will revisit this issue!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 6, 2017
I look forward to working w/ D's + R's in Congress to address immigration reform in a way that puts hardworking citizens of our country 1st.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 5, 2017
Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Tuesday announced that Trump’s administration is ending DACA, a controversial program implemented under former President Obama.
“The program known as DACA that was effectuated under the Obama administration is being rescinded,” he said in televised remarks.
Trump released a statement later Tuesday criticizing Obama for exceeding his presidential powers by creating DACA.
“In referencing the idea of creating new immigration rules unilaterally, President Obama admitted that ‘I can’t do these things by myself’ – and yet that is exactly what he did, making an end-run around Congress and violating the core tenets that sustain our Republic,” he said.
“There can be no path to principled immigration reform if the executive branch is able to rewrite or nullify federal laws at will.”
DACA protects immigrants who were brought to America illegally as children and then sought work permits from deportation.
The program’s recipients are known as “Dreamers,” and nearly 800,000 people have gotten its benefits since its debut in 2012.
Trump said in Tuesday’s statement that Congress now has “a window to act” on DACA and related immigration reform following his decision.
The president contends the six-month period his administration will use for phasing out DACA will give lawmakers time to find a reasonable solution.
“As I’ve said before, we will resolve the DACA issue with heart and compassion – but through the lawful democratic process,” he said.
Critics say ending DACA unfairly punishes undocumented immigrants who entered the U.S. illegally and consider it their home.
Advocates counter that the program is an example of executive overreach and that the U.S. must enforce its immigration laws more strictly.
Trump’s decision Tuesday sparked fierce debate around the globe, provoking comments from parties including major corporations and foreign governments.
Mexican Ambassador to the U.S. Geronimo Gutierrez Fernandez, for example, said Tuesday his nation “deeply regrets” Trump’s move, according to a release from its government.
Former President Ronald Reagan’s son Michael, meanwhile, tweeted that afternoon that his father “would not kick the dreamers out of the US.”
Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL), for his part, personally attacked White House chief of staff John Kelly, saying his association with the decision to end DACA tarnished his military service.
“General Kelly is a hypocrite who is a disgrace to the uniform he used to wear,” he said in a statement of the retired Marine general.
“General Kelly, when he was the head of [the Department of] Homeland Security, lied straight to the faces of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus about preventing the mass deportation of DREAMers,” Gutierrez continued.
“Now as Chief of Staff, this former general is executing the plan to take away their lifeline and taking steps to criminalize young people who live and work here legally.”