In a reversal from President Trump's campaign promise to “immediately terminate” a program that grants certain undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children protection from deportation and the right to work legally, his administration said Thursday it is keeping the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program in place -- for now -- but clarified that the program remains under review.
In an FAQ on the Department of Homeland Security's website, the agency said that current beneficiaries of DACA will continue to be eligible to seek a two-year extension of their status upon expiration and that “no work permits will be terminated prior to their current expiration dates.” More than 700,000 young people, many of whom are college students, benefit from the DACA program, and many college leaders have called for it to be continued.
Trump has been inconsistent on his statements about DACA, which was established by President Obama in 2012, having decried it during the campaign as an “illegal executive amnesty” program. Since his election he has softened his tone and said he would deal with DACA “with heart,” without pledging to continue it.
The announcement that DACA in its current form will remain in effect came at the bottom of a press release about the administration’s decision to rescind a 2014 directive that would have extended DACA-like protections to undocumented parents of U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents. That program, called DAPA for short, was blocked by federal court order and never went into effect.
“DAPA and DACA are two different programs,” a spokeswoman for DHS said. “Yesterday, based on litigation, the administration decided to rescind DAPA. The fact that DACA was not rescinded by the same memo should not be interpreted as bearing any relevance on the long-term future of that program.”
She continued, “The future of the DACA program continues to be under review with the administration.”