Trump claims ‘great love’ for young immigrants

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WASHINGTON (AP) Developments on Tuesday, Sept. 5, about President Donald Trump’s decision to phase out DACA, the program that shields from deportation young immigrants brought to the country illegally (all times Eastern Daylight Time).

  • 4:30 p.m.

President Donald Trump said he had a “great love” for the young immigrants protected by the DACA program.

Speaking before a meeting with administration officials and congressional leaders, Trump said he had a “great heart” for the young people. He said he hoped “Congress will be able to help them and do it properly.”

Trump administration officials announced they plan to phase out the program unless Congress comes up with an alternative. The program has provided nearly 800,000 young immigrants a reprieve from deportation.

Trump said he spoke with members of Congress who “want to be able to do something and do it right.” He added that he thinks “long-term, it’s going to be the right solution.”

  • 4:25 p.m.

Sen. Lindsey Graham R-S.C., urged President Trump to get personally involved in advancing legislation that would put a select group of young immigrants on a path to U.S. citizenship.

Graham said Trump should “work the phones” to get the votes needed to pass the bill Graham is sponsoring with Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill.

Their legislation would allow young immigrants who grew up in the U.S. to earn lawful permanent residence and eventually American citizenship if they meet several requirements. They have to have come to the United States as children, graduated from high school, and pass background checks.

The bill “is a good down payment on what will eventually be a comprehensive solution to a broken immigration system,” Graham said.

  • 3:45 p.m.

Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., called the Trump administration Chief of Staff John Kelly a liar after Trump’s decision to rescind the government program protecting hundreds of thousands of young immigrants who were brought into the country illegally as children.

Gutierrez lashed out at Kelly, the former head of the Homeland Security Department. The lawmaker said Kelly has “no honor and should be drummed out of the White House along with the white supremacists and those enabling the president’s actions by ‘just following orders.'”

Gutierrez said Kelly told members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus the mass deportation of so-called “Dreamers” would be prevented. The lawmaker said Kelly, a former Marine, is a “disgrace to the uniform he used to wear.”

  • 3:05 p.m.

Former President Barack Obama called President Trump’s decision to phase out the so-called DACA program “cruel” and “self-defeating.”

Obama did not mention Trump by name in his statement but said a “shadow has been cast” over some of the nation’s best and brightest young people. He said targeting them was wrong “because they have done nothing wrong.”

Obama said it was up to members of Congress to act and he was joining his voice with the majority of Americans who hope Congress would step up.

  • 2:15 p.m.

Trump administration spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said the president wanted to see “responsible immigration reform'”from Congress. She said it should also include controlling the U.S. border, improved vetting, and enforcing immigration laws.

The administration has given Congress six months to come up with a legislative fix before the government stops renewing permits for people covered by the DACA program.

  • 1:45 p.m.

Mexico government officials said their country  “deeply regrets” the Trump administration’s decision to phase out DACA.

A Foreign Relations department official said “it is undoubtedly the sole responsibility of U.S. citizens and their institutions to determine U.S. immigration policy — but in the current situation, the Mexican government has a moral imperative to act.”

The official said Mexico would provide legal defense services for any of its citizens affected by the decision.

  • 12:30 p.m.

President Trump defended his decision to phase out a program protecting young immigrants from deportation, saying it gives Congress a “window of opportunity” to act.

Trump stressed was “not going to just cut DACA off, but rather provide a window of opportunity for Congress to finally act.”

  • 11:45 a.m.

House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., said the Obama administration’s existing policy for immigrants brought to the country as children was a “clear abuse of executive authority” and now it was incumbent upon Congress to act.

Ryan said the heart of the issue was “young people who came to this country through no fault of their own.”

He said it was his hope the House and Senate — with the president’s leadership — would find consensus on a permanent legislative solution to the issue. He said it was important to ensure that those who have done nothing wrong can still contribute “as a valued party of this great country.”

  • 11:45 a.m.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., called Trump’s decision to end the DACA program “a deeply shameful act of political cowardice.”

Pelosi also said the widely expected announcement was a “despicable assault on innocent young people in communities across America.”

  • 11:15 a.m.

The Trump administration announced it would wind down a program protecting young immigrants from deportation.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions called the program an “unconstitutional exercise of authority by the executive branch.”

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