By Susan Heavey and Lawrence Hurley
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump on Wednesday said the U.S. Congress could step in to protect the immigrants known as “Dreamers” if the Supreme Court endorses his plan to end a program protecting hundreds of thousands of these young adults who were brought into the country illegally as children.
“Republicans and Democrats will have a deal to let them stay in our country, in very short order,” Trump wrote on Twitter.
The Supreme Court is set to hear arguments on Nov. 12 over Trump’s 2017 plan to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program created by his Democratic predecessor Barack Obama in 2012. The immigrants protected under the program often are called “Dreamers.”
Trump and Congress have been unable to agree on legislation that would protect the “Dreamers,” with deep differences between the president’s fellow Republicans and Democratic lawmakers. The failure of Congress to pass a bipartisan immigration package is what prompted Obama to create DACA.
The DACA program currently shields about 700,000 immigrants, mostly Hispanic young adults, from deportation and provides them work permits, though not a path to citizenship.
Trump’s move to rescind DACA was blocked by lower courts.
A ruling by the Supreme Court is due by the end of June.
Trump said on Twitter that if the Supreme Court upholds DACA – which is not the legal question in the case before the justices – it would give the president “extraordinary powers.”
The Trump administration has argued that Obama exceeded his constitutional powers when he bypassed Congress and created DACA.
Trump himself has sought to exercise broad presidential powers over immigration, including his travel ban on people entering the United States from several Muslim-majority countries. The Supreme Court upheld that policy in 2018, recognising wide presidential authority in this area. Trump bypassed Congress in imposing the travel ban.
The legal question before the Supreme Court is whether Trump’s administration properly followed a federal law called the Administrative Procedure Act in the president’s plan to end DACA. The Supreme Court does not have to decide whether the DACA program itself was lawful.
(Reporting by Susan Heavey; Additional reporting by Lawrence Hurley; Editing by Alison Williams and Will Dunham)