US President Donald Trump has reportedly decided to end his predecessor Barack Obama’s initiative to support immigrant children that cross illegally into America.
Dubbed the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, the 2012 program grants a conditional two-year residency to minors and facilitates their stay on American soil after meeting further qualifications.
Sources within the Trump administration said Sunday that the president had already made up his mind and was going to make an announcement on Tuesday,
Before taking action, however, Trump was giving Congress six month to come up with an alternative to the program, which protects from deportation nearly 800,000 young men and women often referred to as “Dreamers” and allows them to work legally.
Dreamers, a name derived from the 2001 DREAM Act to protect alien minors, still make up a fraction of the more than 11 million undocumented immigrants that currently live in the US.
During last year’s presidential campaign, Trump pledged that he would deport all illegal immigrants through staging a nationwide crackdown and blocking legal loopholes.
Although he has been able to attract Republican support on some of his previous anti-immigration efforts, the president still faces stiff bipartisan opposition on repealing DACA.
House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan urged Trump not to rescind the program on Friday. Senator Orrin Hatch, the Republican lawmaker who sponsored the DREAM Act, has also taken a similar stance.
“After teasing #Dreamers for months with talk of his ‘great heart,’ POTUS (Trump) slams door on them. Some ‘heart’,” Cuban-American Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, also a GOPer, wrote on her Twitter.
Meanwhile, immigration hawks like Representative Steve King, a self-proclaimed white supremacist and a Republican from Iowa, have warned Trump over delaying the decision.
This is not the first time that the businessman-turned-politician is targeting immigrant children.
In March, the Department of Homeland Security unveiled plans to separate women and children sneaking together into the country, in a bid to discouraging mothers from migrating to the US.
Since his inauguration, Trump has taken several controversial steps against immigration by ordering a wall on the border with Mexico and authorizing a crackdown on US cities that shield illegal immigrants.