The Trump administration has given amnesty to an estimated 98,000 illegal immigrants through former President Barack Obama’s program for minors who arrived in the U.S. illegally, according to government statistics released Thursday.
The figures released by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) show that between January 1 and March 31, a total of 124,649 illegal immigrants got protection from deportation and work permits under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).
This includes 17,125 illegal immigrants initially getting approved for the program and 107,524 DACA recipients having their status renewed for another two years. Nearly 788,000 illegal immigrants in total have received approval for DACA since President Obama announced the creation of the program in 2012.
Ending the amnesty program was a key part of President Trump’s campaign platform. He said during an August speech in Phoenix that he will “immediately terminate” the “illegal” amnesty. However, after getting into office, Trump changed his mind.
He told the Associated Press in April that DACA recipients, commonly known as “Dreamers,'” can “rest easy.” He described it as “case of heart,” and said ICE won’t go “after the ‘dreamers.'”
While Trump has kept the program, he could order USCIS to stop accepting applications and renewals. He has chosen not to do this and has disappointed anti-immigration hawks. Republican Iowa Rep. Steve King told The Daily Caller in April that “defenders of the constitution” might have to sue the president over the DACA program.