WASHINGTON — The White House will not rule out giving legal status to illegal immigrants protected by Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.
The program started by former President Barack Obama in 2012 protects around 790,000 illegal immigrants who arrived in the U.S. as minors. DACA protects beneficiaries from deportation and allows them to work. It does not, however, give the recipients legal status — it is instead a form of prosecutorial discretion.
As a presidential candidate, Trump said that he would “immediately terminate” the program, but United States Citizenship and Immigration Services continues to process applications. In Trump’s first few months in office an estimated 98,000 illegal immigrants either signed up for DACA or renewed their status.
White House press secretary Sean Spicer said on Monday that the administration continues to conduct a review of DACA along with other immigration policies. The Daily Caller asked White House deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders Thursday if legal status to DACA beneficiaries is an option on the table as the White House conducts its review of the program.
“As of right now, that’s still under review and I don’t have any announcements on the specifics of the program at this time,” Sanders replied.
TheDC followed-up in an email and asked whether the White House can rule out giving amnesty to these 790,000 or so illegal immigrants. White House spokesman Michael Short replied, “No final determination has been made and I’d refer you to the President’s public comments on the topic.”
The president’s comments as a candidate where strongly in favor of ending the program, as he called it “illegal.” However, while in office, he has said that DACA beneficiaries should feel at ease.
Trump told the Associated Press in April that these illegal immigrants should “rest easy,” and that his administration “is not after the Dreamers, we are after the criminals.” This stance has earned President Trump criticism from supporters such as Republican Iowa Rep. Steve King.
King told TheDC in April that he was “disappointed” about Trump’s stance on DACA and suggested that “defenders of the Constitution” may need to sue the president.