WASHINGTON/NEW YORK (Reuters) – President Donald Trump on Friday signaled he could try again to end the program that has protected so-called Dreamer immigrants who are in the United States illegally but entered as children, following a loss in the U.S. Supreme Court.
Trump wrote on Twitter, referring to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy that “The Supreme Court asked us to resubmit on DACA, nothing was lost or won. They ‘punted’, much like in a football game (where hopefully they would stand for our great American Flag). We will be submitting enhanced papers shortly in order to properly fulfil[l] the Supreme Court’s ruling & request of yesterday.”
When asked for clarification on his comments, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said: “we’re looking at documents currently” and added the administration would move forward in a “responsible” and “compassionate” way.
The 5-4 court ruling found that the administration had erred in the way that it decided to end the program in 2017. DACA was put in place by the previous administration of President Barack Obama and currently some 649,000 immigrants are enrolled.
The majority opinion from the court, where Chief Justice John Roberts sided with the four more liberal justices, left the door open for Republican Trump to attempt again to rescind the program, ruling only that the administration had not met procedural requirements and its actions were “arbitrary and capricious” under a federal law called the Administrative Procedure Act.
Ken Cuccinelli, the Department of Homeland Security acting deputy secretary, on Friday told Fox News the department would “move as quickly as possible” to present Trump with various executive options he could take.
In another Tweet, Trump said that he wanted to “take care of DACA recipients,” and blamed Democrats for not negotiating a permanent solution to the young immigrants’ temporary status.
Talks over immigration, including a potential path to citizenship for the “Dreamers,” fell apart in 2018 after Trump provoked outrage with his reported use of vulgar language to describe African countries in a meeting with lawmakers.
McEnany repeated Trump’s desire to “take care” of the young immigrants and said that any move on DACA “needs to be done in a lawful way and it needs to be done in accordance with assuring that our border is safe.”
Trump has made his hardline stance on both legal and illegal immigration a central platform of his presidency and his 2020 re-election campaign, but DACA is a complicated issue for him because of increasing public support of the program.
A February Reuters/Ipsos poll found 64% of U.S. adult respondents supported DACA’s core tenets. A similar December 2014 poll found that 47% of U.S. adults supported DACA.
(Reporting by Alexandra Alper in Washington and Mica Rosenberg in New York; Additional reporting by Lisa Lambert and Susan Heavey; Editing by Jonathan Oatis and Grant McCool)