Donald Trump is adopting a softer tone on young undocumented immigrants granted work permits through an Obama-era directive that the president-elect has vowed to repeal once he’s in the White House.
Some 740,000 so-called Dreamers have been given a deportation reprieve and other benefits by President Barack Obama through the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which Obama enacted by executive action in 2012. But the status of those young immigrants, who do not have formal legal status, has been in limbo because Trump has said he would overturn Obama’s immigration orders.
In an interview with Time magazine announcing him as “Person of the Year,” Trump didn’t go into specifics but signaled that he could find a way to accommodate the Dreamers.
“We’re going to work something out that’s going to make people happy and proud,” Trump told the magazine. “They got brought here at a very young age, they’ve worked here, they’ve gone to school here. 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.”
The interview notes that the president-elect did not back off his promise from the campaign trail to rescind Obama’s executive actions. And without details, it’s difficult to divine exactly what policy Trump would support once he is sworn in and has to face this issue.
His selection for attorney general, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), is also a staunch opponent not only of Obama’s executive actions on immigration but of legalizing those who are in the United States illegally.
A bipartisan group of senators is working on legislation meant to keep the status of the DACA beneficiaries intact should Trump follow through on his pledge and repeal Obama’s executive actions. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-I’ll.), one of the members leading the effort, said last week that more details of the plan could be rolled out at the end of this week.