Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced Tuesday that President Donald Trump's administration is rescinding an Obama-era policy that provided work permits to undocumented immigrants who were brought into the country as children, with a wind-down period that allows Congress to act on the issue first.
"I'm here today to announce that the program known as DACA that was effectuated under the Obama administration is being rescinded," Sessions told reporters.
"The nation must set and enforce a limit on how many immigrants we admit each year, and that means all cannot be accepted," he added. "This does not mean they are bad people or that our nation disrespects or demeans them in any way. It means we are properly enforcing our laws as Congress has passed them."
President Donald Trump is expected to allow so-called Dreamers to renew their temporary work permits as he phases out the controversial Obama-era immigration policy that provides relief to undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions is expected to announce on Tuesday that the administration will end President Barack Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, known as DACA, but to first give Congress six months to find a legislative solution.
A senior administration official said Dreamers whose permits expire by March 5 would be allowed to apply for a two-year renewal, as debate continues about the future of the program. The renewal application must be submitted by Oct. 5, and Tuesday is the last day the administration will consider new applications, the official said. ABC News first reported the details on the renewals.
Trump has wrestled for months with how to handle the future of DACA, which many Republicans consider a major executive overreach by Obama. While the president promised on the campaign trail to end the program, he has repeatedly expressed sympathy for the roughly 800,000 young immigrants who have received some protection under DACA.
The expected six-month delay in ending the program represents a compromise of sorts, and allows Trump to put the pressure on Congress, despite Republican lawmakers' inability so far to find a legislative alternative.
“Congress, get ready to do your job – DACA!” Trump tweeted Tuesday morning.
More than 10,000 new applications for legal status were filed between January and March (and more than 141,000 renewals were filed within the same time span), according to data provided by the Department of Homeland Security.
Trump faced an unofficial Tuesday deadline from nine conservative state attorneys general on the issue. Led by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, the state officials threatened a legal challenge if the administration didn’t rescind Obama’s executive action on DACA and pledge not to renew or issue new permits. The move would have likely forced the administration to formally weigh in about the program's future.
It’s unclear whether the lawsuit will move forward. A Paxton spokeswoman did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
Josh Gerstein, Eliana Johnson and Andrew Restuccia contributed to this report.