President Donald Trump plans to revisit his administration’s decision on Dreamers if Congress can’t legalize the DACA program within six months.
He announced the news in a tweet on Tuesday night after earlier saying that he has a ‘great heart’ and a ‘great love’ for illegal immigrants who came to the US as children.
‘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!’ Trump tweeted.
It came just hours after he wrote on Twitter that he was ‘looking forward’ to working with lawmakers from both parties in Congress ‘to address immigration reform in a way that puts hardworking citizens of our country 1st.’
President Donald Trump said this afternoon that he has ‘a great heart’ for illegal immigrants who came to the U.S. as children and ‘a great love for them’
He said the responsibility rests with legislators in his first on-camera remarks since his administration revealed its plans to eliminate the DACA program, which saved Dreamers from deportation.
‘Hopefully, now Congress will be able to help them and do it properly,’ Trump declared during a meeting with GOP leaders hours after his administration said it was cancelling the Obama-era policy to jeers from Democrats.
‘They want to be able to do something and do it right. And really we have no choice. We have to be able to do something,’ he said.
He added: ‘I think it’s going to work out very well. And long-term, it’s going to be the right solution.’
The White House contended earlier on Tuesday that Trump is not ‘cold-hearted,’ as critics of his DACA decision have claimed, as it headed into battle with Congress again over the president’s illegal immigration demands.
Trump is acting out of ‘compassion’ for out-of-work Americans who want him to enforce stronger borders,’ the president’s spokeswoman told journalists.
‘He’s wrestled with this back and forth,’ White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said, ‘in large part is because this is not an easy one.’
But ‘you can’t allow emotion to govern,’ she added, and ‘it’s not cold-hearted for the president to uphold the law.’
Dreamers still won’t be the administration’s priority for deportation, Sanders insisted during her televised press conference. The government’s focus is on criminal security threats, she contended.
It’s work permits and other government benefits that the 800,000 illegal immigrants who are currently part of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy will be losing access to, she said during the question-and-answer session where she repeatedly argued that it’s up to Congress to make the program law.
The White House contended Tuesday that President Donald Trump is not ‘cold-hearted,’ as critics of his DACA decision have claimed, as it headed into battle with Congress again over the president’s illegal immigration demands – he’s acting out of ‘compassion’ for out-of-work Americans who want him to enforce stronger borders
Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the Trump administration’s plans to ‘wind down’ the Obama-era program that allows illegal immigrants who arrived as children to live and work in the US without fear of deportation from the Justice Department this am.
Sessions said in a press statement that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy, DACA, is an ‘unconstitutional exercise of authority’ by the executive branch and amounts to ‘unilateral executive amnesty.’
The administration is rescinding the policy that created the program, Sessions said.
It’s up to Congress to pass legislation extending the policy if it see fit, the DOJ official stated.
‘We are people of compassion, and we are people of law. But there is nothing compassionate about the failure to enforce immigration laws,’ Sessions said.
President Trump waited an hour after Sessions had finished speaking to send out a statement explaining the administration’s decision.
‘I do not favor punishing children, most of whom are now adults, for the actions of their parents. But we must also recognize that we are nation of opportunity because we are a nation of laws,’ Trump’s statement said.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions says the Trump administration will ‘wind down’ an Obama-era program that allows illegal immigrants who arrived as children to live and work in the US without fear of deportation
Protests from supporters of the DACA program broke out of over the weekend and extended into Tuesday at the White House and Trump Tower
Sessions said in a press statement that the policy, known as DACA, is an ‘unconstitutional exercise of authority’ by the executive branch and amounts to ‘unilateral executive amnesty’
Trump stressed in the declaration that went straight to reporters’ inboxes – he did not make a televised appearance – that the transition away from DACA would be ‘orderly’ and ‘gradual.’
New applications will not be accepted but prospective DACA recipients who already have their paperwork in will have their requests honored, Trump said.
Dreamers with DACA paperwork that is about to expire will also have their statuses renewed, he added.
‘This is a gradual process, not a sudden phase out. Permits will not begin to expire for another six months, and will remain active for up to 24 months,’ Trump said. ‘Thus, in effect, I am not going to just cut DACA off, but rather provide a window of opportunity for Congress to finally act.’
The president had hinted this morning on Twitter that he was planning to place the problem squarely on the shoulders of Congress.
‘Congress, get ready to do your job – DACA!’ Trump tweeted.
He said in a formal statement later, ‘Congress now has the opportunity to advance responsible immigration reform that puts American jobs and American security first.’
‘We will resolve the DACA issue with heart and compassion – but through the lawful Democratic process – while at the same time ensuring that any immigration reform we adopt provides enduring benefits for the American citizens we were elected to serve,’ he said, mistakenly capitalizing the ‘D’ on democratic.
Continuing, Trump said, ‘We must also have heart and compassion for unemployed, struggling, and forgotten Americans.’
DACA protects roughly 800,000 Dreamers, as they are known, from being deported. As many as 11 million illegal immigrants are believed to be residing in the U.S. overall.
Once their paperwork expires, Dreamers will not be rounded up and kicked out immediately, but they could be sent back to their home countries if they encounter a law enforcement officer.
They will not have access to documents that will allow them to work legally in the U.S.
President Donald Trump waited an hour after Sessions had finished speaking to send out a statement explaining the administration’s decision
Sessions said Tuesday, during a televised statement at the Department of Justice, that Barack Obama had shown disrespect for the legislative process when he went around Congress to put DACA in place.
‘The executive branch, through DACA, deliberately sought to achieve what the legislative branch specifically refused to authorize on multiple occasions,’ Sessions said, claiming that ‘such an open-ended circumvention of immigration laws was an unconstitutional exercise of authority by the Executive Branch.’
The law enforcement official predicted that DACA would be slapped down in court if it sustained a legal challenge.
A similar Obama policy, DAPA, that protected the parents of illegal immigrants went down in court earlier this summer.
‘If we are to further our goal of strengthening the constitutional order and the rule of law in America, the Department of Justice cannot defend this type of overreach,’ Sessions said.
Acting DHS Secretary Elaine Duke said in a memo that the administration did not take the decision lightly.
‘I am very aware of the consequences of this action, and I sympathize with the DACA recipients whose futures may now be less certain,’ she said. ‘But I am also frustrated on their behalf. DACA was never more than parole—a bureaucratic delay—that never promised the rights of citizenship or legal status in this country.’
House Speaker Paul Ryan argued in a statement that the Obama policy, while well-intentioned, ‘was a clear abuse of executive authority.’
‘Congress writes laws, not the president, and ending this program fulfills a promise that President Trump made to restore the proper role of the executive and legislative branches,’ the GOP leader of the House stated.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell whacked Obama too for having ever created the DACA program in a short statement that preceded an afternoon visit to the White House to speak with Trump in person.
‘President Obama wrongly believed he had the authority to re-write our immigration law. Today’s action by President Trump corrects that fundamental mistake,’ he said. ‘This Congress will continue working on securing our border and ensuring a lawful system of immigration that works.’
A weekend report said Trump was planning to eliminate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals scheme that his predecessor implemented five years ago at the conclusion of a six-month waiting period
Activists asked Trump not to end DACA during a protest Monday outside the White House
Democratic lawmakers roundly complained that Trump’s termination of DACA was ‘cruel’ and ‘inhumane’ in the the lead up to DOJ’s announcement. They agreed, however, that it was time for Congress to use its legislative authority to preserve the program.
Organizing for Action, the group that grew out of the ashes of Obama’s presidential campaigns, also urged Congress on Tuesday to undo Trump’s actions.
‘Leader McConnell and Speaker Ryan clearly understand how cold-hearted and senseless it would be to tell 800,000 bright, young, law-abiding immigrants that they have no place here,’ , OFA Communications Director Jesse Lehrich said. ‘McConnell and Ryan know that these people represent the very best of America – that they deserve our compassion and our respect.’
Sen. Lindsey Graham, a leading Republican proponent of comprehensive immigration reform, pledged later at a bipartisan news conference with Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin to do just that.
‘You have done nothing wrong. You came here as children. You’ve contributed to society. You’ve passed criminal background checks. You’ve demonstrated your ability to be beneficial to the country now and in the future,’ he told Dreamers.
‘The only thing that stands between you and certainty in your life is the Congress. That cannot be that reassuring,’ he added. ‘So here’s the deal: The Congress is going to have to up its game.’
Former President Barack Obama chimed in only after Sanders had a chance to extrapolate on the current White House’s position.
He defied the administration’s claim that Trump ended DACA because of some legal argument.
‘Ultimately, this is about basic decency,’ he instead said. ‘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.’
The two-term Democrat created the program in 2012 without the input of Congress. It provides worker permits and deportation protection to approved applicants on a rolling, two-year basis with an indefinite number of renewals.
Republicans say that Obama overstepped his authority when he mandated that DHS turn a blind eye to undocumented immigrants who meet the DACA specifications.
GOP lawmakers eventually took him to court on the grounds that he had been veering too far into their lane.
The White House said Friday that Trump would finalize his position on DACA today. It ultimately left Sessions, a staunch opponent of illegal immigration reform when he was in the Senate, to be the face of the polarizing announcement.
The action puts DOJ in compliance with a deadline thrust upon the administration by conservative attorneys general promising to sue the administration as a means of bringing about DACA’s end.
A group of 10 states, led by Texas AG Ken Paxton, sent a letter to DOJ the last week in June announcing their plans to sue the federal government unless Trump rescinded the executive order Obama used to create the program by Sept. 5.
Tropical Storm Harvey did nothing to slow Paxton down. He affirmed last week that his cadre of state attorneys general would take legal action today unless Trump did what they were asking.
Sessions cited ‘imminent litigation’ in his statement to the press this morning, as did Trump.
PRESIDENT TRUMP’S STATEMENT ON DACA
As President, my highest duty is to defend the American people and the Constitution of the United States of America. At the same time, I do not favor punishing children, most of whom are now adults, for the actions of their parents. But we must also recognize that we are nation of opportunity because we are a nation of laws.
The legislative branch, not the executive branch, writes these laws – this is the bedrock of our Constitutional system, which I took a solemn oath to preserve, protect, and defend.
In June of 2012, President Obama bypassed Congress to give work permits, social security numbers, and federal benefits to approximately 800,000 illegal immigrants currently between the ages of 15 and 36. The typical recipients of this executive amnesty, known as DACA, are in their twenties. Legislation offering these same benefits had been introduced in Congress on numerous occasions and rejected each time.
In referencing the idea of creating new immigration rules unilaterally, President Obama admitted that “I can’t just 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.
Officials from 10 States are suing over the program, requiring my Administration to make a decision regarding its legality. The Attorney General of the United States, the Attorneys General of many states, and virtually all other top legal experts have advised that the program is unlawful and unconstitutional and cannot be successfully defended in court.
There can be no path to principled immigration reform if the executive branch is able to rewrite or nullify federal laws at will.
The temporary implementation of DACA by the Obama Administration, after Congress repeatedly rejected this amnesty-first approach, also helped spur a humanitarian crisis – the massive surge of unaccompanied minors from Central America including, in some cases, young people who would become members of violent gangs throughout our country, such as MS-13.
Only by the reliable enforcement of immigration law can we produce safe communities, a robust middle class, and economic fairness for all Americans.
Therefore, in the best interests of our country, and in keeping with the obligations of my office, the Department of Homeland Security will begin an orderly transition and wind-down of DACA, one that provides minimum disruption. While new applications for work permits will not be accepted, all existing work permits will be honored until their date of expiration up to two full years from today. Furthermore, applications already in the pipeline will be processed, as will renewal applications for those facing near-term expiration. This is a gradual process, not a sudden phase out. Permits will not begin to expire for another six months, and will remain active for up to 24 months. Thus, in effect, I am not going to just cut DACA off, but rather provide a window of opportunity for Congress to finally act.
Our enforcement priorities remain unchanged. We are focused on criminals, security threats, recent border-crossers, visa overstays, and repeat violators. I have advised the Department of Homeland Security that DACA recipients are not enforcement priorities unless they are criminals, are involved in criminal activity, or are members of a gang.
The decades-long failure of Washington, D.C. to enforce federal immigration law has had both predictable and tragic consequences: lower wages and higher unemployment for American workers, substantial burdens on local schools and hospitals, the illicit entry of dangerous drugs and criminal cartels, and many billions of dollars a year in costs paid for by U.S. taxpayers. Yet few in Washington expressed any compassion for the millions of Americans victimized by this unfair system. Before we ask what is fair to illegal immigrants, we must also ask what is fair to American families, students, taxpayers, and jobseekers.
Congress now has the opportunity to advance responsible immigration reform that puts American jobs and American security first. We are facing the symptom of a larger problem, illegal immigration, along with the many other chronic immigration problems Washington has left unsolved. We must reform our green card system, which now favors low-skilled immigration and puts immense strain on U.S. taxpayers. We must base future immigration on merit – we want those coming into the country to be able to support themselves financially, to contribute to our economy, and to love our country and the values it stands for. Under a merit-based system, citizens will enjoy higher employment, rising wages, and a stronger middle class. Senators Tom Cotton and David Perdue have introduced the RAISE Act, which would establish this merit-based system and produce lasting gains for the American People.
I look forward to working with Republicans and Democrats in Congress to finally address all of these issues in a manner that puts the hardworking citizens of our country first.
As I’ve said before, we will resolve the DACA issue with heart and compassion – but through the lawful Democratic process – while at the same time ensuring that any immigration reform we adopt provides enduring benefits for the American citizens we were elected to serve. We must also have heart and compassion for unemployed, struggling, and forgotten Americans.
Above all else, we must remember that young Americans have dreams too. Being in government means setting priorities. Our first and highest priority in advancing immigration reform must be to improve jobs, wages and security for American workers and their families.
It is now time for Congress to act!
The president suggested in his written statement that he would have been content to leave DACA alone had it not been for the threats of legal action.
‘Officials from 10 States are suing over the program, requiring my Administration to make a decision regarding its legality,’ Trump said. ‘The Attorney General of the United States, the Attorneys General of many states, and virtually all other top legal experts have advised that the program is unlawful and unconstitutional and cannot be successfully defended in court.’
Trump ran on a platform of ‘law and order’ that centered on pledges to build a wall with Mexico and deport an estimated 11 million illegal immigrants from the country.
He’s softened his stance slightly since he was elected, instructing his administration to zero in on violent criminals and leaving the DACA policy in place.
Trump praised the illegal immigrants whose fates rested in his hands on Friday, telling reporters during an unrelated event, ‘We think the DREAMers are terrific.’
‘Great feeling for DACA,’ he said at another point in the afternoon. ‘We love the Dreamers. We love everybody.’
The comments suggested that Trump does not want to end the program.
Trump’s phase out plan was embraced by some top Republicans on Monday and denounced by others as the beginning of a civil war within the party
MEET THE DREAMERS PROTESTING IN WASHINGTON, D.C.
NAME: Deyanira Aldana
Deyanira Aldana, part of the group United We Dream that was protesting in front of the White House on Tuesday, came to the United States from Mexico at age 4 and grew up in New Jersey before relocating to Washington, D.C.
‘When the announcement came out I cried,’ she told the crowd. Aldana explained that she sobbed not only for herself, but because she has two siblings who use the DACA program, including her sister who owns a small business.
‘And just to hear someone come out and say, first line of their whole entire speech is, “I’m here because the DACA program is being rescinded,” right?’ she told DailyMail.com, loosely quoting Attorney General Jeff Sessions. ‘It was tough, it was really, really tough for me.’
While difficult, the announcement today wasn’t the worst case scenario, but rather the ‘best,’ she admitted, because of the six-month ‘sunsetting option.’
NAME: Paola Munoz
Paola Munoz heralds from Bolivia, but now works and studies marketing at the University of Maryland, living in Silver Spring, Maryland.
Munoz told DailyMail.com she was impacted by the DACA decision because she currently works and pays her mom’s bills.
‘But I also, pretty much they impacted me because they killed our dreams, they killed my dreams, they killed what we want in the future,’ she said.
Munoz has been dating her boyfriend for five years and they were starting to talk about settling down in the area after she graduated from school. Now they’ve discussed moving to Canada.
‘But right now our plan is to fight back, we have six months to keep fighting,’ she said. ‘Donald Trump … won’t make the bad decision of tearing us apart.’
NAME: Gerson Quinteros
Gerson Quinteros studies computer science at the University of the District of Columbia and coaches soccer, having come to the United States from El Salvador at age eight.
‘It was a day of happiness,’ he said of his move to America, which reunited him with his mother. ‘And now this, it’s like a day of sadness.’
Quinteros said he was particularly saddened by President Trump’s decision to send out Attorney General Sessions to announce the news, instead of doing it himself.
‘I grew up here, I don’t know any other country than this,’ he said.
He said he fears that after six months he’ll be undocumented again or worse, he’ll be deported.
‘It’s a fear that’s going to be on us always, but we have to actually have that fear and turn it into strength, if we don’t fight for it we will never get anything done,’ he advised.
He said in an April said that Dreamers should ‘rest easy’ and told ABC News ‘they shouldn’t be very worried.’ He also told ABC, ‘I do have a big heart.’
Demonstrators surrounded Trump Tower in New York over the weekend, after reports said the president was leaning toward ending the policy. A large protest also erupted Tuesday outside the White House.
‘Back up, back up, we want freedom, freedom, all these racist politicians, we don’t need ’em, need ’em,’ a pro-DACA group chanted at the White House Tuesday afternoon.
On the microphone was 22-year-old Deyanira Aldana, who was brought to the US from Mexico at age four and now is part of the United We Dream group, which fights for immigrant rights.
‘We are here, we’re fighting up against all these white supremacists, these racists, these people who just want us to be defeated,’ shouted 22-year-old Deyanira Aldana, part of the United We Dream group protesting at the White House, as she encouraged the Dreamers and their allies to persevere.
Trump also received a lecture from Obama.
Writing a message on Facebook, Trump’s predecessor talked about how he had wanted Congress to pass a bill that would have protected the Dreamers, but that bill never came.
‘And because it made no sense to expel talented, driven, patriotic young people from the only country they know solely because of the actions of their parents, my administration acted to lift the shadow of deportation from these young people, so that they could continue to contribute to our communities and our country,’ Obama explained.
Obama touted the benefits of the DACA program, which brought 900,000 young people out of the shadows, while chiding the reversal that happened today.
‘To target these young people is wrong – because they have done nothing wrong,’ Obama said. ‘It is self-defeating – because they want to start new businesses, staff our labs, serve in our military, and otherwise contribute to the country we love.’
‘And it is cruel,’ Obama concluded.
Republicans and Democrats who support the illegal immigrants’ ability to stay in the U.S. have blasted Trump for leading Dreamers on and then turning his back on them.
Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a Florida Republican, remarked over the weekend that Trump sure does have a ‘great heart,’ using a claim he made during a February press conference against him.
‘After teasing #Dreamers for months with talk of his “great heart,” @POTUS slams door on them. Some “heart”…’ she said. ‘If reports of ending #DACA within 6 months are true, #Congress must work immediately to pass law protecting #Dreamers who only know the US’.
Republican Conference Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers said in a statement that while she disagreed with how the Obama administration went about implementing DACA, ‘we must protect children who are already here in this country and those who are currently protected under DACA.’
‘I’m committed to working with my colleagues in the House to establish common sense policies for children of immigrants, policies that recognize that many of these children came to our country at no fault of their own,’ she said.
Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake, a frequent Trump critic, said in a series of tweets that executive actions from the White House can ‘have a short-shelf life and are a poor substitute for permanent, bipartisan legislation to fix our broken immigration system.’
‘The ball is back in Congress’ court where it belongs, and there are a lot of innocent kids counting on Congress to do its job.’
North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis announced on Twitter that he will introduce a bill ‘addressing the legal status of undocumented children.’
His approach, Tillis said, ‘will provide a fair and rigorous path for undocumented children to earn legal status. The path to earn legal status would require them to be employed, pursue higher education or serve in our military.’
Meanwhile, Graham, a member of the bipartisan group of senators looking overhaul the nation’s immigration system, gave Trump’s reported six-month phase out his blessing.
‘I have always believed DACA was a presidential overreach,’ Graham said in a Labor Day statement. ‘However, I equally understand the plight of the Dream Act kids who — for all practical purposes — know no country other than America.’
The South Carolina Republican pledged that Congress would ‘work to find a legislative solution to their dilemma’ if Trump ultimately ends DACA.
Other Republicans, like Alabama Rep. Robert Aderholt, hinted that funding for Trump’s long-promised border wall separating the U.S. from Mexico could be tied to any bill legalizing the ‘DREAMers.’
‘Before we can pass legislation that deals with DACA, we must first address the underlying issue, which is our lack or border security,’ he tweeted.