Trump's harsh awakening for 'Dreamers'

President Donald Trump has decided to scrap a program shielding from deportation immigrants who came to the United States illegally as children but will give Congress six months to craft legislation to replace it.
A rally in support of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (Daca) in Los Angeles, California, last Friday. Daca is a policy that protects nearly 800,000 immigrants, called "Dreamers", who came to the US illegally as children, from deportation and a
A rally in support of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (Daca) in Los Angeles, California, last Friday. Daca is a policy that protects nearly 800,000 immigrants, called "Dreamers", who came to the US illegally as children, from deportation and allows them to work legally. President Donald Trump will reportedly give Congress six months to craft alternative legislation.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

WASHINGTON • President Donald Trump looks set to scrap a programme shielding from deportation immigrants who came to the US illegally as children, but will give Congress six months to craft legislation to replace it.

The President has decided to delay enforcement of his decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or Daca, according to two sources on Sunday. But one source cautioned that the President could yet change his mind.

The decision to give Congress half a year to come up with an alternative legislation, first reported by Politico, represents a compromise after top Republicans and business leaders asked Mr Trump to keep the programme.

Daca, an Obama administration policy, protects nearly 800,000 young men and women often called "Dreamers" from deportation and allows them to work legally.

Dreamers are a fraction of the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants in the United States. Mr Trump as a candidate promised to deport them, but many Americans have rallied to support the young adults who have spent large parts of their lives in the country.

The decision, due today, will seek to placate both sides in the immigration debate.House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan urged Mr Trump last Friday not to rescind the programme.

Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a Cuban-American Republican from Florida, tweeted her dismay: "After teasing #Dreamers for months with talk of his 'great heart', @POTUS slams door on them. Some 'heart'."

DISMAY

After teasing #Dreamers for months with talk of his 'great heart', @POTUS slams door on them. Some 'heart'.

REPRESENTATIVE ILEANA ROS-LEHTINEN, a Cuban-American Republican from Florida, in a tweet.

That said, Mr Trump's base will likely be far from happy about the President's decision to leave open the option of a fix.

Democrats such as Senator Al Franken of Minnesota also wanted the programme to continue, calling the reported decision a"disgrace".

Ms Nancy Pelosi, the top House Democrat, last week asked Mr Ryan to meet Democrats to discuss a "comprehensive legislative solution".

Leading business figures have defended the Dreamers, including Microsoft chief executive Satya Nadella and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, writing to the President outlining the economic contribution of Dreamers.

But Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin downplayed those warnings, telling Fox News Sunday he was "less concerned about the economic impact".

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 05, 2017, with the headline 'Trump's harsh awakening for 'Dreamers''. Print Edition | Subscribe