White House officials tell ABC News DACA will be phased out

Posted at 5:55 AM, Sep 05, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-05 11:04:57-04

ABC News has learned that President Donald Trump plans to phase out the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals immigration (DACA) policy, according to two administration officials.


Officials also telling ABC News that the White House will not accept any new applications for legal status under DACA after today. Also, anyone who has a DACA permit expiring between now and March 5, 2018 can apply for a two-year renewal according to the officials who spoke to ABC News. 



Attorney General Jeff Sessions will hold a briefing today at the Department of Justice to make the announcement on the DACA program, which protects nearly 800,000 people from deportation.

Politico reported Sunday night that Trump had decided to end DACA with a six-month delay for Congress to act.

DACA allows individuals who entered the U.S. prior to their 16th birthday to register to remain in the country, provided they pay a fee and meet certain requirements related to their education and criminal record. Those accepted under the policy -- known as "Dreamers" -- may stay for renewable periods and are eligible for work permits.

The White House said repeatedly that the decision was one Trump was not taking lightly.

“The president's priorities on immigration are to create a system that encourages legal immigration and benefits our economy and American workers,” White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said Friday. “The president's been very clear he loves people and he wants to make sure that this decision is done correctly.”

The president further expressed that he believed it would be a difficult choice to end the policy.

"We love the Dreamers," said Trump from the Oval Office on Friday. "We love everybody."

Trump told ABC News' David Muir in January that those covered by the program "shouldn't be very worried" and that they're "going to take care of everybody."

"I do have a big heart," said Trump at the time on the matter.

In an interview with The Associated Press back in April, Trump said his administration is “not after the Dreamers, we are after the criminals.”


Attorney General Jeff Sessions said earlier this summer, however, that everyone in the United States illegally is subject to deportation, but criminals would be prioritized.

"Under the laws of the United States, you should only enter this country properly. You don't get to come into the country illegally. If you do, you're subject to being deported," Sessions said in a June interview with Fox News. "You are really subject to being deported if you come into the country illegally and murder somebody or commit another serious crime."

The administration chose Sept. 5 to make its announcement on DACA, the same day Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and nine other attorneys general have said they plan on expanding a lawsuit to include a challenge to the DACA program if it’s not ended.

President Barack Obama, who implemented DACA on June 15, 2012, using an executive action, intended for the program to be temporary and for Congress to pass a more comprehensive immigration reform bill.

Congress has been struggling for years to pass legislation that would overhaul the country's immigration system, with the most recent attempt in 2013. The immigration bill drafted by eight Republican and Democratic senators -- known as the "Gang of Eight" -- that would have given millions of undocumented immigrants a path to citizenship passed the Senate but failed in the House.


ABC News' John Santucci contributed to this report.