WASHINGTON (AP) - An Obama-era immigration program meant to protect parents of USA citizens and legal residents from deportation has been formally canceled, fulfilling a key campaign promise from President Donald Trump, the Homeland Security Department announced late Thursday. The Deferred Action for Parents of Americans program was announced by the Obama administration in 2014 but was blocked by a federal judge in Texas after 26 states challenged the programs legality in federal court.
The Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) says Trump's leaving DACA in place "undermines" other directives the president issued in an effort to crack down on illegal immigration.
But administration officials and immigrant rights activists made clear that President Donald Trump has not made a final decision about the long-term fate of the program.More news: Seager drives in 3 as Mariners beat Rangers 7-3
Trump paired the action with an announcement it is withdrawing a second Obama-era program that would have protected from deportation as many as five million additional undocumented immigrants who are the parents of US citizens.
"DACA still exists and DAPA hasn't existed for a long time now", Langarica said.
The #trump administration has earlier said the program will remain.More news: The Xbox One X is not the console for everyone
"Yesterday's action by the administration also acknowledges that granting de facto amnesty to millions of people who knowingly violated USA immigration laws is also bad public policy that harms the interests of the American people and encourages more illegal immigration", Stein said in a statement. Since taking office, however, Trump has softened his tone on young undocumented immigrants, saying the administration was focused on deporting criminals.
In a statement on Thursday, the Department of Homeland Security statement said DACA "will remain in effect".
"This is a big victory for Dreamers amid months of draconian and mean-spirited immigration enforcement policy", said immigration lawyer David Leopold.
The DAPA program could have afforded protection to about 3.6 million undocumented immigrants, according to the Migration Policy Institute. Yet as president, he repeatedly expressed empathy with the young participants in the DACA program. Continuing it would be unpopular with many of his supporters.More news: Could Trump's "witch hunt" tweet come back to haunt him?
DACA does not provide a legal immigration path to citizenship or any status that leads to permanent protection; it does offer immigrants with valid work permit for a period of two years.
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