CHICAGO — President Donald Trump is expected to announce that he will end protections for young immigrants who were brought into the country illegally as children, but with a six-month delay, according to multiple reports.
The Obama-era program shields young undocumented immigrants known as “Dreamers” from deportation. Dreamers and immigration activists held a rally at the Federal building in Chicago Monday, with plans for additional protests Monday night. Demonstrators hope their voices will persuade the president to preserve the program, even as the trump administration has signaled it will be phased out in the coming months.
President Obama signed the executive order creating the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program in 2012 in order to protect undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children. DACA shields them from deportation, and allows them access to work visas and student aid.
President Trump said on Friday from the Oval Office that he thinks Dreamers "are terrific.” His latest proposal reportedly gives dreamers a six-month window before he would end the program. The six-month window could lead to legislative compromise that replaces president Obama’s executive order.
Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) is the author of the DREAM Act and says congress should act immediately to, “pass legislation to protect daca dreamers, and to make sure the program is still open to those who qualify in the future.”
There is a growing chorus of Republican lawmakers, along with conventional Republican allies like business and religious leaders, who have asked the White House to preserve the program. But immigration hard-liners view the elimination of DACA as one of Trump’s key campaign promises.
This is all coming to a head because a group of 10 states led by Texas threatened legal action to end the program, giving the trump administration a deadline of Sept. 5 to make a decision. In February, the president himself expressed some sympathy for the Dreamers, many of whom have known life only in the united states.
“You have some absolutely incredible kids and they were brought here in such a way, it’s a very tough subject," Pres. Trump said.
The policy change would affect about 800,000 undocumented immigrants, potentially revoking their legal status and subjecting them to deportation.
It's a concern for 17-year-old Bladimir Caballero – an undocumented immigrant and student at Chicago’s Morgan Park high school.
“I’m going to keep on fighting to make a difference," Caballero said.
Six months may not be enough to find a compromise solution, given the immense difficulty any immigration issue has had making it to law during the last two presidential administrations. Several reports suggested that the president could still change his mind – and he’s receiving additional information Monday before making the announcement of his decision Tuesday.