President Donald Trump’s Department of Homeland Security did not touch former President Barack Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), which allows undocumented immigrants, who came to the U.S. as small children, to remain in America. From The New York Times:

The Department of Homeland Security announced late Thursday night that it would continue the Obama-era program intended to protect those immigrants from deportation and provide them work permits so they can find legal employment.

A fact sheet posted on the department’s website says immigrants enrolled in the 2012 program, known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, “will continue to be eligible” to renew every two years and notes that “no work permits will be terminated prior to their current expiration dates.”

From the DHS fact sheet:

Q. Does this mean that DACA recipients will not be able to apply for a three-year work authorization, as established in the DAPA memorandum?

A. DACA recipients will continue to be eligible as outlined in the June 15, 2012 memorandum. DACA recipients who were issued three-year extensions before the district court’s injunction will not be affected, and will be eligible to seek a two-year extension upon their expiration. No work permits will be terminated prior to their current expiration dates.

Immigration activists have welcomed this decision:

“This is a big victory for Dreamers amid months of draconian and meanspirited immigration enforcement policy,” said David Leopold, an immigration lawyer. “The preservation of DACA is a tribute to the strength of the Dreamer movement and an acknowledgment — at least in part — by the Department of Homeland Security that it should not be targeting undocumented immigrants who have strong ties to their communities and have abided by the law.”

On the campaign trail, Trump promised he would eliminate the Dreamer policy since Obama “defied federal law and the Constitution” with it.

But once he took office, Trump has toned down his rhetoric. In April, DHS Secretary John Kelly told CNN that the department has not targeted ‘Dreamers’ because officials were more concerned with criminals:

“The President told me to do two things,” Kelly said. “He told me to secure the Southwest border — all of our borders, and, of course, focusing now on the Southwest border — and to take the worst of those that are in our country illegally, take them — look for them and deport them. So that’s what I’m doing.”

I blogged in February that DHS issued new guidelines for immigration, which listed which aliens should be deported by importance. The memos spared those under DACA:

The changes would spare so-called “dreamers.” On a conference call with reporters, a DHS official stressed that the directives would not affect Obama-era protections for illegal immigrants who came to the U.S. as children and others given a reprieve in 2014. But outside those exemptions, Kelly wrote that DHS “no longer will exempt classes or categories of removable aliens from potential enforcement.”

*UPDATED* The New York Times has updated its piece to stress that officials have told its reporters that the statements on the fact sheet “were intended only to clarify that immigrants enrolled in the DACA program would not immediately be affected by a separate action officially ending a similar program for the parents of those immigrants.”

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