Donald Trump to axe programme protecting young immigrants
Donald Trump will phase out a programme that has protected hundreds of thousands of young immigrants brought into the US illegally as children and call for Congress to find a legislative solution to protect them, sources have said.
He suggested in an earlier tweet that it would be up to Congress to ultimately decide the fate of those covered by Barack Obama's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) programme, which has provided nearly 800,000 young immigrants a reprieve from deportation and the ability to work legally in the US.
The president tweeted: "Congress, get ready to do your job - DACA!"
"Make no mistake, we are going to put the interest of AMERICAN CITIZENS FIRST!" he added in a second tweet. "The forgotten men & women will no longer be forgotten."
Attorney general Jeff Sessions, a harsh opponent of the programme, has scheduled a press briefing on the topic later on Tuesday, the same day as a deadline set by a group of Republican state officials who said they would challenge DACA in court unless the Trump administration rescinded the programme.
Many believe the programme for the young immigrants, known as "dreamers", would not hold up in court.
Mr Trump's expected plan to take a hard line on young immigrants unless Congress intervenes threatens to emphasise deep divisions among Republicans who have long struggled with the issue, with one conservative warning of a potential "civil war" within the party.
Congressional Republicans have a long history of being unable to act on immigration because of those divisions.
Florida representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen tweeted: "After teasing #Dreamers for months with talk of his 'great heart,' @POTUS slams door on them. Some 'heart'.."
The Obama administration created the DACA programme in 2012 as a stopgap as it pushed unsuccessfully for a broader immigration overhaul in Congress.
Many Republicans say they opposed the programme on the grounds that it was executive overreach.
House speaker Paul Ryan and a handful of other Republicans urged Mr Trump last week to hold off on scrapping DACA to give lawmakers time to come up with a legislative fix.
But Congress has repeatedly tried - and failed - to come together on immigration overhaul legislation, and it remains uncertain whether the House would succeed in passing anything on the divisive topic.