The Trump administration has denied widespread reports that it has ended a program that grants protections to young, undocumented Caribbean and other immigrants.
The program — known as the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), also referred to as the Dreamers program — was implemented under former US President Barack Obama.
It allows some undocumented Caribbean and other immigrants who came to the United States as children to work and live legally. About 800,000 people are protected under the program, which Obama signed as an executive order in 2012.
Trump had campaigned against DACA, promising to end it if elected, but he has since waffled over whether to follow through on the pledge, according to Politico, an American political journalism company based in Arlington County, Va that covers politics and policy in the United States and internationally.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters on Thursday that Trump is yet to make any decision on the issue.
“We don’t know when the final review will be completed,” she said, despite reports that Trump has made up his mind on the matter.
Huckabee Sanders said that the US president still stands by an earlier statement that he would treat the young undocumented immigrants, with “heart.”
“No offense to your colleague from Fox News, but I think I’m a little bit better informed than they are in terms of when the White House has made a decision,” she told reporters. “And, as I just said a moment ago, it has not been finalized; and, when it is, we will certainly let you know.”
White House homeland security adviser Tom Bossert also told reporters Thursday that he has been consulted on Trump’s decision on whether or not to rescind the policy.
“As soon as the president’s ready to announce the result of our policy process, he’ll do so,” he said.
Deeply concerned about the potential fate of Dreamers, immigration rights activists and some legislators have urged Trump to extend the program.
But Politico said the US president faces pressure from his “immigration-restrictionist base” to scrap the program, and several conservative states have threatened to sue the administration if the president does not rescind it by Sept. 5.
Bossert told reporters that the lawsuit threat “won’t affect the policy decision, but it will affect the timing of it.”
Trump administration officials had considered reaching out to the 10 state attorneys general threatening to sue over DACA to see if they’d be open to pushing back the Sept. 5 deadline, according to Politico.
But a spokeswoman for Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who is leading the legal effort against DACA, said Thursday the state law enforcement officials will not acquiesce.
“The court-ordered deadline in DACA was set several weeks ago, and we are completely prepared to comply with it on Sept. 5,” Paxton spokeswoman Kayleigh Lovvorn told Politico.
Officials briefed on the Trump administration’s internal deliberations told Politico earlier this week that officials are debating phasing out DACA but allowing people who have already been granted two-year work permits through the program to continue using them until they expire.