Trump has not said what he plans to do about the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, but so far most immigrants protected by the effort have not been targeted by stepped-up efforts to find and deport immigrants living in the country illegally.
But late Thursday Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly quietly announced the decision to keep DACA at the bottom of a fact sheet release declaring the end to a similar, but never-implemented program meant to shield immigrant parents of USA citizens and legal residents from deportation.
This reflects the administration's shift to harsher immigration raids that have separated parents from their children, prompting some city officials to declare themselves "sanctuary cities" for undocumented people in opposition to President Trump's draconian immigration policies.
The executive order could have lifted the deportation threat for parents of millions of America's K-12 students and eased longstanding concerns among educators about separating school-aged children from their parents or guardians. "The preservation of DACA is a tribute to the strength of the Dreamer movement". The decision was noted at the bottom of an administration statement announcing the end of another Obama-era immigration program.
She says before DACA she had been living in fear. "This announcement highlights the clear moral and economic imperative that our leaders have to protect DACA".
Immigration restriction group NumbersUSA said it was "thrilled" that DAPA was rescinded, but wanted to see Trump continue to DACA.
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President Trump has officially reversed his campaign pledge to deport the so-called Dreamers, undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as small children. The announcement is bittersweet for many undocumented families because it means that while some young people can continue to remain in the US, their parents are not offered the same protection.
The immigration attorney explained in more detail that the goal of the program was to keep immigrant parents safe from deportation while also offering them a renewable, two-year work permit. The protection can be revoked at any time and some young immigrants have lost their DACA protections after being arrested for a crime.
Migrants known as Dreamers "who were issued three-year extensions before the district court's injunction will not be affected, and will be eligible to seek a two-year extension upon their expiration", said guidance released Thursday.
During his campaign, Trump denounced the program by describing it as an illegal amnesty and vowed to withdraw it as soon has he assumes office.
"They shouldn't be very anxious", Trump said of DACA recipients in a January ABC News interview.
A federal appeals court blocked the program, and the US Supreme Court let that ruling stand in a 4-4 split decision past year.
However, the program remained in legal limbo after several states sued the government, saying that Obama had overstepped his constitutional authority and was illegally implementing "back-door amnesty".