President Trump has decided to end the 2012 deportation amnesty for young adult illegal immigrants, Fox News reported Thursday, citing a senior administration official.
The report said an announcement could come “as early as Friday,” and reporter John Roberts said on Twitter that Mr. Trump would allow the program to “lapse.”
That would mean the nearly 800,000 Dreamers already approved would remain until their two-year permits run out, but no new applications or renewals would be accepted.
Mr. Trump faces a Sept. 5 deadline, imposed by Texas, for deciding what to do.
If he doesn’t act, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said he will force the issue to federal court, where analysts said the amnesty, known officially as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, is on flimsy legal footing.
Despite the legal challenges, immigrant-rights activists have urged Mr. Trump to fully defend the program and keep it running. They have said any other decision will be seen as racist.
SEE ALSO: Kris Kobach: Donald Trump needs to end DACA now or face political consequences
DACA applies to young adult illegal immigrants who dubbed themselves “Dreamers.”
Under the program, those who came to the U.S. as children, who kept a relatively clean criminal record and either graduated high school or were working toward a diploma could earn a two-year stay of deportation and a work permit, giving them a legal foothold in the U.S.
The White House has repeatedly deflected questions about DACA this week, saying the president’s review wasn’t completed.
Mr. Trump has said he would make the decision personally.
Frank Sharry, executive director of America’s Voice Education Fund, said if Mr. Trump cancels the program it would be “one of the cruelest moves of his presidency.”
He said it would immediately force a debate in Congress over granting a more permanent legal status to Dreamers.
Such a bill cleared the House in 2010 but fell victim to a GOP-led filibuster in the Senate.
In the years since, Dreamers have emerged as a major political force — particularly for a group that as non-citizens lacks the right to vote. They have earned time with the 2016 presidential candidates, were hosted at the Obama White House and Congress, and formed powerful lobbying organizations.
But the legal pinnings of the DACA program have always been suspect.
No court has ever directly ruled on the program, either striking it down or upholding it. But courts have ruled against a similar program, DAPA, aimed at illegal immigrant parents with children who are either U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents.
Legal experts said in a world where DAPA is illegal, it would be difficult to sustain DACA on a direct challenge.