Trump Delays Effort to End Protections for Immigrant ‘Dreamers’

WASHINGTON — President Trump will not try again to immediately terminate President Barack Obama’s program that protects young undocumented immigrants, after the Supreme Court’s decision to invalidate Mr. Trump’s first attempt to make good on a crackdown that is at the core of his political identity.

Instead, the administration announced new restrictions on the program, known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, which has allowed about 650,000 undocumented immigrants to live and work in the country legally.

Amid a “comprehensive review” of the program, Chad Wolf, the acting homeland security secretary, announced in a memo that immigrants who already had protections would be allowed to renew their status under the program for one year, rather than two. The memo, which is intended to replace the one that originally established DACA in 2012, also said that first-time applicants to the program would be rejected.

The announcement appears to directly contradict an order by a federal judge, who ruled last month that the administration must immediately begin accepting new applications for the program. It will most likely face immediate legal challenges.

“We obviously have no choice but to go back to court,” said Mark Rosenbaum, a lawyer on the case against the administration’s move to eliminate DACA that reached the Supreme Court. “It was illegal the first time, and now it’s a constitutional crisis. It’s as if a Supreme Court decision was written with invisible ink.”

Immigrants rights groups saw the revised memo as a first step toward completely eliminating DACA. It could also energize Mr. Trump’s base by suggesting that the program would eventually be scrapped, while helping the president avoid the blowback from images of young people being deported just before the election.

A Pew Research Center poll conducted in June found that three-quarters of Americans support not only allowing so-called Dreamers to remain in the United States, but also providing them a path to permanent residency.

By Michael D. Shear and Caitlin Dickerson
for The New York Times

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