Trump signals that deporting young immigrants in the US illegally is not an immediate priority



Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump speaks at the 11th annual Values Voter Summit on Friday, Sept. 9, 2016 in Washington, D.C. (Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/TNS)

President Donald Trump, who promised during the campaign to “immediately terminate” a controversial program that shields from deportation more than 742,000 people brought to the country illegally as children, has put off canceling it.

The Trump administration is continuing to accept applications for two-year work permits and temporary protection from removal under the program, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, which was created by former President Barack Obama.

Trump’s first actions on immigration will be to boost deportations of people who pose a public safety threat, White House press secretary Sean Spicer told reporters Monday. That’s a continuation of Obama administration policy on prioritizing deportations.


“The president’s been very, very clear, that we need to direct agencies to focus on those who are in this country illegally and have a record — a criminal record or [who pose] a threat to the American people,” Spicer said. “That’s where the priority’s going to be and then we’re going to continue to work through the entire number of folks that are here illegally.”

Trump aides have signaled in recent days that the president is looking first at ways to punish so-called sanctuary cities for not cooperating with immigration officials looking to deport people who have been booked into local jails.

Officials at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the federal agency that issues the work permits, were still receiving applications on Monday, said agency spokesman Steve Blando.

“We are still accepting [and] processing DACA requests under existing policy,” Blando said in a statement.

Trump made vague remarks shortly after being elected about finding a way to allow some people in the country illegally to stay.

However, in a major speech on immigration in August, he promised to end the DACA program, which began in 2012, as well as Obama’s 2014 effort to expand it, which was blocked by the courts.



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