Despite campaign pledges to the contrary, the Trump administration signaled Friday that it is keeping in place Obama-era protections for so-called "Dreamers" - immigrants who were brought to the USA illegally as children.
The program, DAPA, was intended as a companion to the "Dream Act", or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, which stalled deportation for foreign children who were brought into the country illegally and granted them two-year work permits.
A lawsuit filed by Kansas and 25 other states led to the Trump administration's action yesterday to rescind an Obama executive action on illegal immigration, Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt said today.
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 US citizens or lawful permanent residents.
The program affecting parents, DAPA, was blocked by a federal judge in Texas after 26 states sued.
Trump's decision veers from his strident anti-immigrant campaign rhetoric, which translated into some tough early months for American immigrants during his administration.More news: 24-story tower engulfed in London; officials fear collapse
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Many of Trump's most dedicated supporters view the Obama-era program as an illegal grant of amnesty and were elated when Trump pledged to "immediately terminate" DACA the moment he got into office. The second one, DAPA, was for illegal-immigrant parents of children who are USA citizens by virtue of having been born here. But, so far, most immigrants protected by the effort have not been targeted by stepped-up efforts to find and deport immigrants living in the country illegally.
The program meant to keep immigrant parents safe from deportation and provide them with renewable work permit for two years. But as president, he has said his administration was devising a policy on how to deal with individuals covered by DACA.
This reflects the administration's shift to harsher immigration raids that have separated parents from their children, prompting some city officials to declare themselves "sanctuary cities" for undocumented people in opposition to President Trump's draconian immigration policies.
The program applies to immigrants who have been in the USA since 2007, were under age 16 when they arrived and were under 31 as of 2012.
The immigration policy leaves the clause intact that allows children of undocumented citizens to remain in the United States. "DACA that applies to students has not been changed", Kelly said. As of 2012, the DACA program has shielded 750,000 children from deportation.
In a late-Thursday night briefing, Homeland Security Secretary John F. Kelly announced that he had revoked an Obama-era order that would have prevented the deportation of any undocumented parents of millions of USA citizens.