The next president of the USA, faces a messy Day One test on a key immigration vow.
United We Dream activists participate in a rally in front of the White House July 28, 2014 in Washington, DC.
President-elect Donald Trump’s get-tough stance against illegal immigration faces a key test on his first day in office: whether to follow through on his campaign trail pledge to revoke President Barack Obama’s 2012 directive that gave undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children a chance to work here legally without getting deported.
While other aspects of Trump’s immigration platform, such as building a wall along the border with Mexico, will take time to implement, Trump will confront a stark and immediate choice on the program known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, an executive action Trump vowed to rescind as he campaigned for the presidency.
More than 740,000 so-called Dreamers have work permits under the policy. According to recent data, about 7,000 new applications and 21,000 renewals arrive each month. Trump could shut that process down completely on his first day in office, but if he does nothing, immigration officials will continue to grant and renew permits he has argued are illegal.
If he shutters the program altogether, hundreds of thousands of young people who’ve spent most of their lives in the U.S. could be thrown out of work, with some losing the ability to pay for school.
The post-Inauguration Day policy challenge already has Trump facing pressure and lobbying from both sides in the immigration debate, as hard-liners urge him to scuttle the program altogether while Democrats and some Republicans warn that doing so would be catastrophic for those whose livelihoods and education now depend on the special immigration status.