Washington: House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan urged President Donald Trump on Friday not to rescind an Obama-era program that protects immigrants who entered the United States illegally as children, joining business leaders and others opposing the move.
White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said Trump will announce on Tuesday whether he will end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program, which protects nearly 800,000 people from deportation. It also makes those covered, so-called Dreamers, eligible for work permits.
“We love the ‘Dreamers,’” the Republican president told reporters in the Oval Office.
Ryan and Senator Orrin Hatch, both Republicans, on Friday joined a small but growing number of lawmakers from the majority party to speak out against killing DACA, created in 2012 by Democratic former President Barack Obama and long the target of conservative immigration hard-liners.
“I actually don’t think he should do that, and I believe that this is something Congress has to fix,” Ryan said in an interview with WCLO radio in his hometown of Janesville, Wisconsin.
“These are kids who know no other country, who were brought here by their parents and don’t know another home. And so I really do believe that there needs to be a legislative solution. That’s one that we’re working on. And I think we want to give people peace of mind,” Ryan added.
Hatch said in a statement that rescinding the program would further complicate a U.S. immigration system sorely in need of legislative reform.
“Like the president, I’ve long advocated for tougher enforcement of our existing immigration laws. 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,” the longest-serving Republican senator added.
Trump made a crackdown on illegal immigrants a centerpiece of his 2016 election campaign and has stepped up deportations since taking office in January. But business leaders say immigrants make important economic contributions and that ending the program would hit economic growth and tax revenue.
Congress under presidents of both parties has been unable to pass comprehensive immigration reform.
Obama bypassed the Republican-led Congress and created DACA through an executive order. Obama in 2014 signed another order providing similar protections as DACA to millions of additional illegal immigrants who were parents of U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents, but a group of Republican states led by Texas blocked it with a lawsuit that went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.