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House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan urged President Donald Trump on Friday not to rescind an Obama-era program that protects immigrants who entered the United States illegally as children, as more Republicans lined up against the move.
White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said Trump will announce on Tuesday whether he will end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program, which protects nearly 800,000 young men and women from deportation. It also makes those covered, so-called Dreamers, eligible for work permits.
“We love the ‘Dreamers,'” the Republican president, already facing calls from leading business figures and Democrats to preserve the program, told reporters in the Oval Office, without tipping his hand on the decision. Senator Bernie Sanders also denounced the move on Monday morning, Labor Day in the United States, saying if Trump ended DACA it "would be be one of the ugliest and cruelest decisions ever made by a president in our modern history."
Ryan and Senator Orrin Hatch on Friday joined a small but growing number of lawmakers from the party that controls Congress and the White House to speak out against killing DACA, created in 2012 by Democratic former President Barack Obama and long the target of conservative immigration hard-liners.
“I actually don’t think he should do that, and I believe that this is something Congress has to fix,” Ryan said in an interview with WCLO radio in his hometown of Janesville, Wisconsin.
Ryan said he believes Obama exceeded his authority in creating DACA by executive order, bypassing Congress, but there now 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. That’s one that we’re working on. And I think we want to give people peace of mind,” Ryan added.
Nancy Pelosi, the top House Democrat, said she was “heartened” by Ryan’s comments and asked him to meet with Democratic lawmakers next week to discuss a “comprehensive legislative solution.”
Hatch said in a statement rescinding the program would further complicate a U.S. immigration system sorely in need of legislative reform.