WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump has decided to scrap a program shielding immigrants who came to the United States illegally as children from deportation but will give Congress six months to craft a bill to replace it, sources familiar with the situation said.
The president decided to delay enforcement of his decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA program, to give Congress time to devise an alternative, the two sources said on Sunday.
DACA, an Obama-era program, protects nearly 800,000 young men and women, often called “Dreamers” from deportation.
The decision, to be announced on Tuesday, will seek to placate both sides in the immigration debate at a time when the president is also grappling with North Korea’s nuclear program and Houston’s recovery from Hurricane Harvey.
Senior White House officials discussed the policy rollout on Sunday.
As a candidate, Trump pledged to immediately scrap the program but he has run into stiff opposition, including from senior members of his own party.
House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan urged President Donald Trump on Friday not to rescind the Obama-era program. Ryan was joined by Senator Orrin Hatch, also a Republican.
That said, Trump’s base will likely be far from happy about the president’s decision to leave open the option of a legislative fix. Rep. Steve King, a hawk on immigration and an Iowa Republican, tweeted his opposition to the plan on Sunday night.
Trump made a crackdown on illegal immigrants a centerpiece of his 2016 election campaign and has stepped up deportations since taking office in January. But business leaders say immigrants make important economic contributions and that ending the program would hit economic growth and tax revenue.
Reporting by Steve Holland, writing by Diane Bartz; Editing by Andrew Hay