Federal

DREAMers, DACA Recipients Not First Focus for Deportation, White House Says

By Corey Mitchell — January 23, 2017 1 min read

The White House says President Donald Trump will not take immediate action on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, an Obama administration policy that grants deportation reprieves for hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children.

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer on Monday said Trump will focus on immigrants who have overstayed their visas and those with criminal records, not DACA participants. The young people are widely known as DREAMers in recognition of the DREAM Act, a failed congressional bill that would have offered them a pathway to permanent residency.

“For now, the focus is on people who’ve done harm to our country,” Spicer said.

On the campaign trail, President Trump vowed to repeal DACA, which grants a two-year work authorization and protection from deportation to an estimated more than 700,000 U.S. residents.

Since winning the election, Trump has appeared to soften his stance, saying his administration will develop a plan for the young immigrants. But the president and his team have yet to offer specifics.

Spicer did not directly address a question on whether President Trump will sign an executive order to shut down DACA.

“We don’t have anything in front of us to sign,” Spicer said. “We’ll see what Congress moves forward with.”

Two U.S. senators, Illinois Democrat Dick Durbin and South Carolina Republican Lindsey Graham, have introduced legislation, the Bar Removal of Individuals who Dream and Grow Our Economy Act—or Bridge Act—that aims to protect undocumented young people who could be at risk of deportation. The bill has yet to gain traction on Capitol Hill.

Spicer also declined to offer details on several questions related to DACA, including whether DACA-eligible students should apply or re-apply for the status. Some educators and immigration advocates fear the information collected during the application process could be used during a Trump administration crackdown on immigration. That’s because DACA recipients must submit sensitive information to the federal government, including relatives’ home addresses.

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A version of this news article first appeared in the Learning the Language blog.