In a news conference Thursday, President Trump came across as conflicted but noncommittal when asked about his plans for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, an Obama-era program under which more than 700,000 young people who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children, many of them college students, have gained temporary protection from deportation and renewable work permits.
During the campaign Trump said he would end the program, but he has since softened his tone, saying, without offering specifics, that he will "work something out" for DACA recipients. On Thursday a PBS NewsHour reporter asked the president whether he plans to continue or end the program. Trump did not give a clear answer but responded by describing DACA as a "very, very difficult subject" for him.
"We’re going to show great heart," the president said. "DACA is a very, very difficult subject for me, I will tell you. To me it’s one of the most difficult subjects I have. Because you have these incredible kids, in many cases, not in all cases. In some of the cases they’re having DACA and they’re gang members and they’re drug dealers, too. But you have some absolutely incredible kids, I would say mostly, they were brought here in such a way -- it’s a very, very tough subject. We are going to deal with DACA with heart. I have to deal with a lot of politicians, don’t forget, and I have to convince them that what I’m saying is, is right, and I appreciate your understanding on that. But the DACA situation is a very, very, it’s a very difficult thing for me, because, you know, I love these kids. I love kids. I have kids and grandkids, and I find it very, very hard doing what the law says exactly to do. And you know the law’s rough. I’m not talking about new laws. I’m talking the existing law is very rough. It’s very, very rough."