GOP pressure builds, as Trump's decision on DACA is still unclear

The White House said a decision would be announced Tuesday, as a lawsuit from Texas and others loom

Published September 2, 2017 9:24AM (EDT)

Paul Ryan   (AP/J. Scott Applewhite)
Paul Ryan (AP/J. Scott Applewhite)

President Donald Trump has received pressure from House Speaker Paul Ryan R-Wisc., as well as other Republicans, to not put an end to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). The president is expected to announce his decision on Tuesday, according to multiple news reports.

"I actually don’t think he should do that, and I believe that this is something Congress has to fix," Ryan said during a radio interview on Friday, according to Reuters. Ryan added that even though he believed former President Barack Obama exceeded his powers when he bypassed Congress and created DACA in an executive order, that there are currently "people who are in limbo."

"These are kids who know no other country, who were brought here by their parents and don’t know another home," Ryan said. "And so I really do believe that there needs to be a legislative solution. That’s one that we’re working on. And I think we want to give people peace of mind." Congress can enact legislation to protect Trump from rescinding the Obama-era policy but it's currently unclear if they will do so.

Over the past few weeks there have been various reports on what Trump's decision might entail, however things still appear unclear. It was reported that top White House aides were attempting to persuade the president to use DACA as a bargaining chip, in order to achieve more funding for his so-called border wall and other future immigration gains. A few days later it was reported that despite the pressure from Republicans, he planned to end DACA anyways.

But talks began to simmer as the country turned its attention to Texas as the state was slammed by Hurricane Harvey in what's being called the "costliest and worst natural disaster in American history."

Sen. Orrin Hatch R-Utah, called the president on Thursday to sway him from ending the legislation, an aide for Hatch told Politico.

Sen. Jeff Flake R-Ariz., who has been publicly berated as weak on immigration by the president, tweeted that "Congress needs to take immediate action to protect #DACA kids."

By the end of the week Trump's decision was still largely unknown, but sources told Politico that he was considering "phasing out the program and allowing existing Dreamers to finish out their existing work permits." He told reporters on Friday that the public could expect a decision soon. "Sometime today or over the weekend, we’ll have a decision," Trump said, according to Politico.

"We’ll issue it sometime over the weekend. Maybe this afternoon." He added that the "latest will be Monday."

The president was then asked if Dreamers should be worried about his decision. DACA protects undocumented children brought to the U.S. by their parents, and helps them obtain work and study permits. "We love the Dreamers. We love everybody," Trump said, Politico reported.

Later on Friday, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders contradicted the president's words and said that a decision be announced on Tuesday. "The president's priorities on immigration are to create a system that encourages legal immigration and benefits our economy and American workers," Sanders said. "The president's been very clear, he loves people, and he wants to make sure that this decision is done correctly, and so that's what he's doing now is finalizing that part."

But if Trump decides to keep DACA, Texas and as many as eight other states have threatened to sue his administration, Politico reported.

By Charlie May

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Daca House Speaker Paul Ryan Immigration Orrin Hatch President Donald Trump R-utah Sen. Jeff Flake