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Immigration

Obama vows to fight to protect Dreamers after leaving office

Obama spoke "very directly" to Trump on issue of deportation of undocumented children
4 Ene 2017 – 01:20 PM EST
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A 2012 executive action, known as DACA, protects so-called "Dreamer" children from deportation and allows them to study and get jobs.
Crédito: Getty Images

President Barack Obama told Democratic lawmakers on Wednesday that he would get back into politics if necessary to fight against the deportation of undocumented immigrants who entered the United States illegally as children, according to media reports.

Obama earlier raised the issue in a meeting with President-elect Donald Trump in which they discussed immigration issues including the 2012 executive action, known as DACA, that protects so-called "Dreamer" children from deportation and allows them to study and get jobs.

Trump has pledged to reverse Obama's executive actions, such as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), though he softened his tone after the election, suggesting in one media interview that he would "work something out that's going to make people happy and proud."

Whether President-elect Trump follows through with his promises is one of the biggest fears of undocumented immigrants, according to immigrant advocates who warn that personal data provided on applicant forms by the 742,000 DACA recipients could be used to deport them if the program was axed.

Obama revealed details of his immigration conversation with Trump during a meeting with House and Senate Democrats on Capitol Hill on Wednesday.

“His message was, those are good kids who didn’t do anything wrong,” one lawmaker told POLITICO, adding that the president spoke "very directly" to Trump about the issue.

Obama's words were "heartfelt," the lawmaker added, saying Obama indicated he would continue to fight for the DACA children after leaving office.

Obama administration officials have said that personal information on DACA documents is legally protected. In a letter to Congress, Department of Homeland Security chief Jeh Johnson said Dreamers who applied for DACA did so knowing that their personal information — such as addresses and telephone numbers — would not be used against them for deportation purposes, unless there were national security concerns or other compelling reasons.

“We believe these representations made by the U.S. government, upon with DACA applicants most assuredly relied, must continue to be honored,” Johnson wrote.

The status afforded by DACA does not lead to residency or citizenship and must be renewed every two years. While Obama expanded the program in 2014, removing an age cap and making the status renewable every three years, the expansion was halted by a lawsuit and a tied Supreme Court decision.

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