Trump White House to Dreamers: Prepare to leave the U.S.

But a majority of Americans don't want to deport Dreamers — including most of Trump's own base

By Matthew Rozsa

Staff Writer

Published September 6, 2017 7:53AM (EDT)

 (AP Photo/Alex Cossio)
(AP Photo/Alex Cossio)

President Donald Trump's administration has sent out a memo to his Capitol Hill supporters that makes it clear that, when it comes to the Dreamers targeted by his impending repeal of DACA, the president very much wants to deport them.

According to the memo, "The Department of Homeland Security urges DACA recipients to use the time remaining on their work authorizations to prepare for and arrange their departure from the United States — including proactively seeking travel documentation — or to apply for other immigration benefits for which they may be eligible."

A spokesman for the Department of Homeland Security told CNN: "Of course we would encourage persons who are in the country illegally to depart voluntarily, or seek another form of immigration benefit for which they might qualify. No one has an entitlement to live in the United States illegally."

A report from McClatchy indicates that Trump was initially uncertain about how to handle DACA, as he was torn between his promises to show "heart" toward Dreamers and his vows to crack down on illegal immigration. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and senior policy adviser Stephen Miller both pressured the president to repeal DACA but were eventually stopped by Chief of Staff John Kelly. His proposal was that the president end the program in six months and during that time allow Congress to offer a solution that would help Dreamers stay in the country.

This move may prove politically expedient as well as humane. A new Politico/Morning Consult poll found that 57 percent of Republicans support giving Dreamers permits to work in the United States, while only 37 percent of Republicans, 39 percent of Trump voters and 45 percent of voters who strongly approve of Trump's presidency believe undocumented immigrants should be removed. Among all voters, nearly half (49 percent) believe undocumented immigrants should be allowed to remain in the United States as legal residents, though not citizens.

By Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer at Salon. He received a Master's Degree in History from Rutgers-Newark in 2012 and was awarded a science journalism fellowship from the Metcalf Institute in 2022.

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Daca Donald Trump Dreamers Immigration