Some top Republicans have spoken out to challenge President Trump’s expected announcement Tuesday that reportedly calls for the end of the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA.
House Speaker Paul Ryan and other Republicans urged Trump to hold off on scrapping the program and allow lawmakers some time to come up with a legislative fix.
Trump’s reported plan calls for a six-month delay that would give Congress some time to pass legislation that would address the hundreds of thousands of immigrants covered by the program.
Some see Trump’s reported delay as an attempt to kick the can down the road, and putting the pressure on Congress. One vocal opponent called it “Republican suicide.”
“Ending DACA now gives chance 2 restore Rule of Law. Delaying so R Leadership can push Amnesty is Republican suicide,” Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, said on Twitter.
King, who believes that DACA is unconstitutional, warned that pushing the decision to Congress would be a mistake. "We've got enough of never-Trumpers in Congress that are undermining the president's agenda," he said last week.
Under DACA—which was created through executive action by President Obama in 2012-- people who come to the U.S. illegally when they are children are protected from deportation and granted work permits.
“It is right for there to be consequences for those who intentionally entered this country illegally,” Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., said in a statement, according to The New York Post. “However, we as Americans do not hold children legally accountable for the actions of their parents.”
Ryan, for his part, told a Wisconsin radio show that ending DACA would affect “kids who know no other country.”
Many House Republicans represent highly conservative districts, and if the president goes through with the six-month delay — creating a March deadline — the pressure is likely to be amplified as primary races intensify ahead of the 2018 midterm elections.
The New York Times reported that Trump himself will not make the Tuesday announcement. The job will reportedly be left to Attorney General Jeff Sessions at an 11 a.m. briefing. There will not be questions.
Trump—who made campaign promises of getting tougher on immigration-- has reportedly personally struggled with the issue. Ten states have already threatened to sue the administration over the issue.
“It is time for President Trump to stop breaking one of the clearest campaign promises he made,” Roy Beck, the president of Numbers USA, an advocacy group that aims at reducing the amount of both legal and illegal immigration, told The Wall Street Journal.
Todd Schulte, the president of FWD.us, a progressive immigration group, told the paper that the federal government has the contact information of every DACA recipient, which is about 800,000.
“They grew up here, they work at nearly every major company in America, serve in the military and many are working on recovery efforts in Texas,” he said. “If DACA is repealed and no permanent legislation passed, they will all be fired and our government will begin the large-scale deportation of people raised in the United States, using information they volunteered to the government with the promise it would never be used against them or their families.”
South Carolina GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham said he backs Trump’s purported announcement but also suggested Congress take matters into its own hands.
“I will be supportive of such a position,” said Graham, who is part of bipartisan legislation on the issue. “I have always believed DACA was a presidential overreach.
"However, I equally understand the plight of the Dream Act kids who -- for all practical purposes know no country other than America. If President Trump makes this decision we will work to find a legislative solution to their dilemma.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report