Sept. 4 (UPI) — President Donald Trump is expected to give Congress a six-month timeframe to pass legislation dealing with the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program or else he might end it, according to reports.
Politico and CNN reported that several sources in the White House said Trump will announce his plans on Tuesday. Aides said the six month period is intended to push Congress to pass legislation for DACA, the controversial program that allows undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children to obtain work permits and study in the country provided they meet certain guidelines, such as graduating from high school.
But if Congress fails to pass legislation by the end of the six month period, Trump could end the program altogether, putting nearly 1 million people at risk of being deported from a country they have lived in most of their lives.
The lack of legislation passed by Congress has been a major argument, mostly from Republicans, against the program, which was put into effect through executive authority by former President Barack Obama in 2012.
“My hope is that as part of this process we can work on a way to deal with this issue and solve it through legislation, which is the right way to do it and the constitutional way to do it,” Sen. Marco Rubio R-Fla. told CNN in June.
According to CNN, Trump was forced to act on DACA due to the threat of a lawsuit filed by 10 state attorney generals who are looking to stop the program. The group, led by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, sent Trump a letter earlier this year threatening a lawsuit if the program wasn’t in the process of being struck down by September 5.
Although Trump has yet to officially announce his plans on DACA, he is already being criticized from members of his own party for different reasons.
Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, said a six month timeframe to find new legislation for DACA was too long and it should be ended immediately.
“Ending DACA now gives chance to restore rule of law,” he tweeted. “Delaying so [Republican] leadership can push Amnesty is Republican suicide.”
Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., said Trump was being cruel for giving only six months and mocked his recent comments about having a “great heart” for Dreamers, the term used to describe some DACA recipients.
“After teasing #Dreamers for months with talk of his ‘great heart,’ @POTUS slams door on them,” she wrote. “Some ‘heart’…”
Meanwhile, Democrats have also criticized Trump over the possibility that he could end DACA in six months.
“Young people affected by #DACA are American in every way except immigration status,” tweeted Sen. Al Franken, R-Minn. “@POTUS ending program is not who we should be as nation.”