Donald Trump said immigrants who were granted amnesty through Barack Obama’s 2012 immigration executive action Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals should “rest easy” about his immigration policies.
On the trail, Trump promised to “immediately terminate” DACA, which protects hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants who came to the country as children from deportation, but he changed his tune in an interview with the Associated Press Friday when he said the administration is “not after the dreamers.”
“We are after the criminals,” Trump said. “That is our policy.”
His comment Friday differs vastly from what he said on the campaign trail. (RELATED: Rep. King Floats Suing Trump Over Immigration Flip)
“We will immediately terminate President Obama’s two illegal executive amnesties, in which he defied federal law and the constitution to give amnesty to approximately 5 million illegal immigrants,” Trump said during a speech in Phoenix in August. “In a Trump Administration, all immigration laws will be enforced. As with any law enforcement activity, we will set priorities. But, unlike this Administration, no one will be immune or exempt from enforcement — and ICE and Border Patrol officers will be allowed to do their jobs.”
“Anyone who has entered the United States illegally is subject to deportation — that is what it means to have laws and to have a country.”
Skeptics may have seen this shift in the president’s policy coming, especially as DACA went unmentioned when the president cracked down on illegal immigration in February and because his communications team has avoided giving a direct answer when asked multiples times when the president would end DACA. (RELATED: Why Hasn’t Trump Followed Through On His Promise To Get Rid Of The H1B Visa And DACA Programs?)
In December, Trump softened his tone on the program.
“We’re going to work something out that’s going to make people happy and proud,” then president-elect Trump told Time magazine in an interview. “They got brought here at a very young age, they’ve worked here, they’ve gone to school here. Some were good students. Some have wonderful jobs. And they’re in never-never land because they don’t know what’s going to happen.”