President-elect Donald Trump says his administration will “work something out” for so-called Dreamers—young immigrants brought to the United States illegally as children—but he did not offer specifics on a potential plan.
“We’re going to work something out that’s going to make people happy and proud,” Trump said during an interview with Time magazine, part of their “Person of the Year” coverage.
“They got brought here at a very young age, they’ve worked here, they’ve gone to school here’ he continued. “Some were good students. Some have wonderful jobs. And they’re in never-never land because they don’t know what’s going to happen.”
His words, while vague, seem to signal a radical shift in his position on this group of undocumented immigrants.
During his presidential campaign, Trump pledged to get rid of President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, the executive action that grant works permit and temporary deportation reprieves for eligible immigrants who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children.
The fact that a Trump administration could easily track down current DACA recipients, and some of their relatives, has sparked panic in the immigrant community. More than 740,000 Dreamers are beneficiaries of DACA, federal data indicate,and all of them had to voluntarily provide sensitive information, such as names and addresses to the federal government.
While Trump hasn’t backed away from plans to do away with DACA, his Time interview and other recent statements could signal that he’s open to finding some way to accommodate the Dreamers.
Despite pleas from Congress, a top aide to President Obama said he won’t issue a sweeping pardon for the Dreamers, named for a failed congressional bill that would have offered the young people a pathway to permanent residency.
Cecilia Muñoz, assistant to the president and director of the White House’s domestic policy council, said a presidential pardon “wouldn’t protect a single soul from deportation” because the program was created under executive authority and Trump could rescind the executive order once he takes office.
That’s left members of Congress scrambling to find a legislative fix. Two U.S. senators, Dick Durbin, an Illinois Democrat, and Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican, are drafting legislation that aims to protect undocumented young people who could be at risk of deportation when Trump enters the White House.
A version of this news article first appeared in the Learning the Language blog.