The Trump administration last month ended the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy, which began in 2012 under former President Barack Obama and offered nearly 800,000 young people who came to the United States illegally as children protection from deportation and the right to work legally in the United States.
The administration said it ended DACA because Obama overstepped his constitutional authority by creating the policy unilaterally and without Congressional approval. President Donald Trump called on Congress to enact a law to protect DACA recipients, and last month angered some of his fellow Republicans by negotiating with congressional Democratic leaders on possible legislation.
“Under a rational bill these individuals would be able to become lawful permanent residents with a pathway to citizenship,” Michael Dougherty, assistant DHS secretary for border, immigration and trade policy, said at a Senate hearing. He was responding to questioning from Republican Senator John Kennedy on the Trump administration’s position on whether “Dreamers,” as they are often called, should be allowed to stay in the United States.
A DHS spokesman did not immediately respond to a question regarding whether the administration’s stance applies only to individuals who had DACA status, or also applies to those who would have qualified had the policy not been rescinded.
Earlier in the hearing, when asked what Trump would like to see in a “DACA fix bill,” Dougherty recited a list of the administration’s immigration priorities, including border control, expanding the ability to quickly remove people who enter illegally and do not claim asylum, better vetting, reducing visa overstays, reforming non-immigrant business visas and establishing a merit-based system that favors skilled immigrants.