DHS Chiefs Meet To Determine Fate Of DACA


The top brass at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) met earlier this week to discuss the future of an amnesty program for illegal immigrants brought to the U.S. as children, according to a Thursday report.

Acting DHS Secretary Elaine Duke and acting Immigration and Customs Enforcement chief Thomas Homan were among senior department officials who gathered Monday to review the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, an agency official with knowledge of the meeting told The Washington Post.

The meeting suggests the Trump administration is readying an announcement on whether it will continue to grant temporary legal status and work permits to DACA recipients, commonly known as “Dreamers.” During the campaign, President Donald Trump promised to eliminate the program, calling it an “illegal” executive amnesty. Since taking office, however, he has suggested that DACA recipients should “rest easy.”

Implemented by the Obama administration in 2012, DACA shields certain illegal immigrants who came to the U.S. as children from deportation and allows them to get work permits. About 800,000 people have obtained temporary legal status since the program’s inception.

DACA has become a central front in the war over the administration’s immigration policy. Supporters of the program, including some Republican lawmakers, say it is needed to protect people who were illegally brought to the U.S. through no fault of their own. Immigration hawks consider the program to be an unconstitutional amnesty that rewards lawbreaking.

The purpose of Monday’s gathering of DHS leaders was to “review the status of DACA and [determine] next steps,” the department official told the Post, but any conclusions reached at the meeting remain under wraps.

The White House has yet to decide what to do about DACA, Axios reportedThursday. Trump himself has expressed sympathy for DACA recipients, but some prominent members of the administration, especially Attorney General Jeff Sessions, are urging him to end the program.

A decision on DACA could be expedited due to an imminent legal challenge from the states. A coalition of conservative states, led by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, has threatened to sue the Justice Department if the administration doesn’t end the program by Sept. 5.

Administration officials have suggested that DACA cannot withstand a constitutional challenge. White House Chief of Staff and former Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly says lawmakers should introduce legislation that would codify DACA if they want to keep the program’s protections in place.

Under the threat of legal action, some White House aides are encouraging Trump to make a deal with Congress that preserves DACA in exchange for concessions on other parts of the administration’s agenda, including border wall funding and a curb on legal immigration.

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