House Speaker Paul D. Ryan and other Republicans on Friday urged President Trump not to rescind an Obama-era program that allowed hundreds of thousands of immigrants to stay in the country legally, reflecting fears among some GOP leaders that his decision could be politically damaging for the party.
The entreaties came as Trump neared a decision on whether to dismantle the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which has provided two-year work permits to nearly 800,000 immigrants known as “#dreamers” who have been in the country illegally since they were children.
White House officials said Trump would make an announcement Tuesday, the deadline set by Texas and several other states to pursue a legal challenge of DACA if Trump does not terminate it. But in another sign of how politically charged the issue has become, Tennessee Attorney General Herbert H. Slatery III announced Friday that the state was withdrawing support for the case, citing the “human” costs and calling on Congress to work out a legislative solution.Speculation has mounted among immigrant rights groups that Trump will begin to unwind the program, which President Barack Obama created in 2012 through executive action. But the late-stage opposition from some top Republicans — as well as from hundreds of major corporations such as Facebook, Google and Apple — has raised the pressure on Trump to preserve it.
Asked on a radio program whether the president should end DACA, Ryan said: “I actually don’t think he should do that.”
“I believe that this is something that Congress has to fix,” Ryan told WCLO, a station in his home town of Janesville, Wis. He said GOP leaders have been clear that Obama lacked the legislative authority to create the program.
The speaker emphasized, however, that DACA recipients “are people who are in limbo. These are kids who know no other country, who were brought here by their parents and don’t know another home. And so I really do believe that there needs to be a legislative solution.”