President Donald Trump says he’ll be announcing a decision in the coming days on the fate of hundreds of thousands of young immigrants who were brought into the country illegally as children — immigrants he’s calling “terrific” and says he loves. “We love the dreamers, we love everybody,” Trump told reporters today, using a shorthand term for the nearly 800,000 young people who were given a reprieve from deportation and temporary work permits under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program created by the Obama administration. Asked what he would say to young immigrants who are awaiting his move, scared about their fate, he replied: “I think the dreamers are terrific.”
Trump has been torn over what to do with DACA as he faces a Tuesday deadline set by a group of Republican state lawmakers who are threatening to challenge the program in court unless Trump ends it by that date. Trump had slammed the program as illegal “amnesty” during his campaign and pledged to end it on his first day in office. But he has changed his rhetoric since the election, telling those covered they could “rest easy” and continuing to grant new two-year, renewable work permits.
Trump has spent the last week mulling his choices, cycling through his options again and again, according to several people with knowledge of the deliberations. They spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss private deliberations. Many DACA advocates still expect the president to announce that he will halt the issuance of new work permits under the program, effectively phasing it out.
Another option under consideration would be for the White House to announce that it will allow the lawsuit to go forward and decline to have the Justice Department defend DACA in court, taking the matter out of their hands.