President Donald Trump said on Tuesday he has “a great love” for the roughly 800,000 young immigrants who rely on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which the administration announced just hours earlier it would phase out over six months.
“I have a great heart for these folks we’re talking about. A great love for them and people think in terms of children, but they’re really young adults,” Trump told media at the White House. “I have a love for these people and hopefully now Congress will be able to help them and do it properly.”
In a statement earlier Tuesday, Trump argued that DACA, implemented in 2012 by President Barack Obama, was “unlawful and unconstitutional and cannot be successfully defended in court.” The program offered young undocumented immigrants temporary, renewable protection from deportation and work authorization.
Trump had faced a lawsuit filed by by officials from 10 Republican states if he did not announce he would end DACA by September 5. On Tuesday, the Trump administration said the program would be phased out over a six-month period, allowing Congress time to enact a legislative solution instead.
Trump told media he had been speaking to members of Congress, and “they want to be able to do something and do it right.”
“Really we have no choice. We have to be able to do something, and I think it’s going to work out very well. And long-term, it’s going to be the right solution,” Trump said.