ST. GEORGE – U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch and other members of the Republican Party called on President Donald Trump Friday not not remove federal protections for the children of immigrant parents who entered the country illegally.
The Obama-era policy, called the Deferred Action for Children Arrivals program, or DACA, has allowed a nearly 800,000 immigrants brought to the country illegally as children to remain in the U.S. and legally work without fear of deportation.
The program was initiated in 2012.
Trump was anticipated to make an announcement concerning the possible end of the program sometime Friday, with the White House announcing that was being moving till Tuesday.
“I’ve urged the president not to rescind DACA, an action that would further complicate a system in serious need of a permanent, legislative solution,” Hatch said in his statement.
“Like the president, I’ve long advocated for tougher enforcement of our existing immigration laws,” he said “But we also need a workable, permanent solution for individuals who entered our country unlawfully as children through no fault of their own and who have built their lives here. And that solution must come from Congress.”
Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin, said on a Wisconsin radio program he was also against rescinding the program.
“These are kids who know no other country, who were brought here by their parents and don’t know another home,” he said.
However, Rep. Chris Stewart, who called the program “good intentioned,” said Friday its creation via executive order by former President Barrack Obama was unconstitutional.
“This authority clearly lies within the purviews of Congress, which is why I am supporting legislation that bars the removal of individuals who were brought here under the age of 15 who are pursuing education, have recently graduated or are serving in the armed forces,” Stewart said.
The pieces of legislation Stewart mentioned are the BRIDGE Act and the Encourage New Legalized Immigrants to Start Training Act.
“I look forward to Congress making progress on the issue.”
Many DACA advocates still expect the president to announce, in the end, that he will stop the issuance of new work permits under the program, effectively phasing it out over the coming months. One person familiar with the White House discussions said the president is expected to take that route. But the person said the president is looking for ways to soften the blow, such as ending the program at a future date to give Congress time to come up with alternative protection.
The White House also could 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 its hands.
Trump seemed reluctant Friday to spark the anger that is sure to erupt no matter what he decides.
“We love the dreamers, we love everybody,” he told reporters.
Asked what he would say to young immigrants who are awaiting his move, scared about their fate, Trump replied, “I think the dreamers are terrific.”
The Associated Press contrubuted to this story.
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