Trump Tells Lawmakers ‘We Don’t Want To Forget DACA’ After Ending Program

Rep. Josh Gottheimer, D-N.J., left, and Rep. Tom Reed, R-N.Y., right, listen as President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with a bipartisan group of lawmakers in the Cabinet Room of the White House, Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2017, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
Evan Vucci/AP

President Donald Trump said Wednesday that “we want to see if we can do something” for the nearly 800,000 young undocumented people who had been protected by DACA, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, until he ended the program on Sept. 5.

DACA protects undocumented young people from deportation if they meet certain criteria. The program immediately ceased accepting new applicants when Trump ended it, but there is a six-month delay before the the first work permits will expire and DACA recipients will be eligible for deportation. Those with permits expiring on or before March 5 can apply for a renewal before Oct. 5. 

“We’ll probably also be talking about DACA,” Trump told a spray of reporters before a meeting with members of Congress on both sides of the aisle. “Because we don’t want to forget DACA, and it’s already been a week and a half and people don’t talk about it as much.”

Trump has said he wants to “legalize DACA” but congressional Republicans and members of his own administration have framed it as only one in a much larger list of immigration issues that need to be addressed, potentially including a politically toxic border wall. Trump’s elimination of the program could simply be a ploy to fulfill a campaign promise while shifting responsibility for a wave of deportations of young people to Congress.

“We want to see if we can do something with regard to immigration, with regard to the 800,000 people that are now young people, they’re not children anymore,” he added Wednesday. “They were children, now they are young people, but we want to see if we can do something in a bipartisan fashion so that we can solve the DACA problem, and other immigration problems.”

The President noted that he would be meeting with Senate and House Minority Leaders Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi for dinner Wednesday night, and that “we’ll continue some discussion.”