US Attorney General Jeff Sessions said that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program has been rescinded, potentially putting 800,000 illegal immigrants at the danger of deportation.
“I’m here today to announce that the program known as DACA that was effectuated under the Obama administration is being rescinded,” Xinhua news agency quoted Sessions as saying in a press conference at the Department of Justice on Tuesday.
“The DACA program was implemented in 2012, and essentially provided a legal status for recipients or a renewable two-year term work authorization and other benefits,” Sessions said.
His announcement came after US President Donald Trump called on Congress Tuesday to take action to address the issue.
According to a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) memorandum released on Tuesday, the DHS will stop accepting new DACA applications, and will review case by case pending requests.
The memo said all current recipients whose DACA benefits expire before March of next year, may renew their request before October 5, in effect leaving a six-month window before Congress comes up with a long-term solution.
In a written statement, Trump said he is looking forward to working with Congress to finally address all of these issues “in a manner that puts the hardworking citizens of our country first.”
Meanwhile, police arrested about a dozen “DREAMers” and civil rights activists in New York on Tuesday during a protest that paralyzed Fifth Avenue in front of Trump Tower here.
Dressed in black pants and white t-shirts bearing the message “My job, my family”, the demonstrators staged a sit-in on Fifth Avenue and joined hands, blocking traffic for about 15 minutes to call the attention of passersby to their outrage and their demands.
Hundreds of protesters, many of whom are recipients of the DACA program, also gathered in Washington in front of the White House and promised to keep up the fight to demand that the government provide a solution for their irregular immigration situation.
As the DACA program was only open to those who have arrived in the US at young age, the DACA recipients were often referred to as the “Dreamers”.