Fulfilling one of the key campaign promises of President Donald Trump, US Homeland Secretary John Kelly signed a memorandum on Thursday revoking an Obama-era plan that meant to protect some illegal immigrant of parents of children who are lawful permanent residents from being deported.
The Department of Homeland Security announced Thursday night that the Obama administration's amnesty program for illegal immigrants brought to the U.S.as children will remain in effect. Still, the Department of Homeland Security decision signals that President Trump plans to go through with at least some of the immigration proposals that powered his 2016 campaign. On a conference call with reporters, a DHS official stressed that the directives would not affect Obama-era protections for illegal immigrants who came to the U.S.as children and others given a reprieve in 2014.
The protection program for parents, like the one for young immigrants, was created with a policy memo during the Obama administration.
About a year ago, the Supreme Court deadlocked, 4-4 on a challenge to the Texas ruling.
On the other side, immigration activists were not declaring victory, anxious that President Trump will sooner or later move to rein in the DACA program, which could put millions in jeopardy of deportation.
Numerous 800,000 immigrants protected by the DACA program did not know that they were in the country illegally, and many reportedly attended American schools from a young age.
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"I applaud President Trump for acknowledging what President Obama himself acknowledged over 20 times - the Obama Administration's DAPA immigration edict was a violation of law and the separation of powers".
In many cases, they have attended American schools and have little or no recollection of living in the country from which their parents brought them.
The announcement shocked DACA recipient Erick Silva Palacios, a 23-year-old teacher from San Jose.
"If the young students who have been living for years in this country love this country, show good behavior and want to work legally in their community, they should be not only welcome to do it, but the laws should honor them and make it easier", he said.
The program affecting parents, Deferred Action for Parents of Americans, or DAPA, was blocked by a federal judge in Texas after 26 states sued. In 2015, Obama tried to expand the program to include the illegal immigrant parents of USA citizens, which would have granted up to 5 million people.
Cecilia Muñoz, the head of President Obama's domestic policy council, said "It is unfortunate that their status is still temporary, and their peace of mind not complete". As president, however, Trump has expressed a more sympathetic view toward the Dreamers, and his administration never stopped processing renewal applications.