WASHINGTON -- President Donald Trump will phase out a program that has protected hundreds of thousands of young immigrants brought into the country illegally as children and he will call for Congress to find a legislative solution to protect the immigrants.
WATCH | JEFF SESSIONS' FULL PRESSER ABOVE
Attorney General Jeff Sessions made the announcement Tuesday morning, calling the program "unconstitutional".
Trump suggested in an earlier tweet Tuesday that it would be up to Congress to ultimately decide the fate of those covered by President Barack Obama's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA program.
DACA has provided nearly 800,000 young immigrants a reprieve from deportation and the ability to work legally in the U.S.
Former President Obama issued a statement in response to the decision, which read in part:
“We all want safe, secure borders and a dynamic economy, and people of goodwill can have legitimate disagreements about how to fix our immigration system so that everybody plays by the rules. But that’s not what the action that the White House took today is about. This is about young people who grew up in America – kids who study in our schools, young adults who are starting careers, patriots who pledge allegiance to our flag. These Dreamers are Americans in their hearts, in their minds, in every single way but one: on paper… Some 800,000 young people stepped forward, met rigorous requirements, and went through background checks. And America grew stronger as a result. But today, that shadow has been cast over some of our best and brightest young people once again… What makes us American is not a question of what we look like, or where our names come from, or the way we pray. What makes us American is our fidelity to a set of ideals – that all of us are created equal; that all of us deserve the chance to make of our lives what we will; that all of us share an obligation to stand up, speak out, and secure our most cherished values for the next generation. That’s how America has traveled this far. That’s how, if we keep at it, we will ultimately reach that more perfect union.”
House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) issued the following statement:
“However well-intentioned, President Obama’s DACA program was a clear abuse of executive authority, an attempt to create law out of thin air. Just as the courts have already struck down similar Obama policy, this was never a viable long-term solution to this challenge. Congress writes laws, not the president, and ending this program fulfills a promise that President Trump made to restore the proper role of the executive and legislative branches. But now there is more to do, and the president has called on Congress to act. The president’s announcement does not revoke permits immediately, and it is important that those affected have clarity on how this interim period will be carried out. At the heart of this issue are young people who came to this country through no fault of their own, and for many of them it’s the only country they know. Their status is one of many immigration issues, such as border security and interior enforcement, which Congress has failed to adequately address over the years. It is my hope that the House and Senate, with the president’s leadership, will be able to find consensus on a permanent legislative solution that includes ensuring that those who have done nothing wrong can still contribute as a valued part of this great country.”