President Trump has decided to rescind the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program that protects from deportation illegal immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children, and gives them work permits to allow them to be legally employed. The decision, which was announced by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, has a six-month delay, with Trump essentially punting the issue back to Congress to act. Later in the day, Trump, who during his campaign ran on ending DACA, told reporters of the Dreamers, "I have a love for these people and hopefully now Congress will be able to help them and do it properly," and suggested last night that the policy might change again, tweeting, "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!"
Under the announced phase-out of DACA, new applications won't be accepted, but the administration will continue to renew existing two-year work permits for the next six months. It's unknown what -- if anything -- Congress will do, since it has repeatedly tried and failed to pass immigration legislation in the past. Republicans, who are in the majority in both the House and Senate, are themselves split on immigration, including the Dreamer issue. House Speaker Paul Ryan said he hopes the, quote, "House and Senate, with the president's leadership, will be able to find consensus on a permanent legislative solution that includes ensuring that those who have done nothing wrong can still contribute as a valued part of this great country."
Former President Barack Obama, who created DACA by executive action in 2012, was among those who spoke out against Trump's decision, calling it "wrong," "self-defeating" and "cruel." Many religious leaders, business leaders, including from the tech industry, Democratic lawmakers and a few Republicans were also among those who condemned the decision.