Trump tells Congress to resolve fate of 'Dreamers' as he phases out their protections from deportation

President Trump on Tuesday took action to strip away protections from deportation for roughly 800,000 people brought into the country illegally as children, giving Congress six months to write a law to resolve their plight.

Trump's long-awaited decision to get rid of the Obama-era program for so-called Dreamers fit a pattern of his young presidency: As with other signature campaign promises on infrastructure, overhauling taxes and health insurance, he offered little guidance on what exactly he wanted done and left it to a polarized Congress to fill in the details.

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If Congress fails, and the Dreamers are put in jeopardy of being deported to countries they know little of, if anything, Trump and some supporters have suggested the fault will be lawmakers'.

Trump did not announce the action, which is opposed by a majority of Americans, polls show. He left it to U.S. Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions, a longtime anti-immigration advocate, to do so from the Justice Department. The president issued a written statement, though he later responded briefly, at an unrelated White House event, to reporters' shouted questions.

"I have a love for these people and, hopefully, now Congress will be able to help them and do it properly," Trump said of the Dreamers.

"And I can tell you," he added, "speaking to members of Congress, they want to be able to do something and do it right. And really we have no choice. We have to be able to do something, and I think it's going to work out very well, and long term it's going to be the right solution."

For Republicans in Congress, however, swiftly approving any immigration legislation is virtually impossible given the divisiveness of the issue within the party — as more than a decade of failed attempts has shown. Also, with the party in control of Congress, Republicans are struggling to advance a stalled agenda and must-pass budget bills with time running out for the year.

Late Tuesday, Trump seemed to accept the prospect that Congress might not be able to agree on legislation. "If they can't," he tweeted, "I will revisit this issue!" It was unclear what he meant by "revisit."

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Congressional Republican leaders, who met with Trump at the White House ostensibly about still-unwritten tax legislation, only tentatively committed to addressing Trump's demand on immigration. House Speaker Paul D. Ryan expressed hope for a solution, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Congress "will continue working" on it.

The legislative uncertainty created by the president's action translated to even greater personal uncertainty for the many people affected. Protests were immediate in cities nationwide.

Under Trump’s action, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, commonly known as DACA, would continue to March 5. Unless a similar program becomes law, beginning in March, beneficiaries — at a rate of about 1,000 a day — would start losing their ability to lawfully hold a job, buy a home, go to college and receive student loans, or join the military. They would be liable to deportation.

Despite Trump’s expressions of love for Dreamers, in moving against DACA, he is fulfilling the promise to end it that he made — in much harsher terms — during his presidential campaign. The move advances his broader effort to ratchet up immigration enforcement and reduce the number of immigrants in the country.

Despite Trump’s expressions of love for Dreamers, in moving against DACA, he is fulfilling the promise to end it that he made — in much harsher terms — during his presidential campaign. The move advances his broader effort to ratchet up immigration enforcement and reduce the number of immigrants in the country.

Trump and his advisors, including Sessions in making the announcement, argue that reducing the ranks of low-skilled immigrants, legal and illegal, will raise wages and provide jobs for native-born Americans. Most economists, however, contend that reducing immigration will significantly hurt economic growth for years, especially given the aging of the native population.

Trump and his advisors, including Sessions in making the announcement, argue that reducing the ranks of low-skilled immigrants, legal and illegal, will raise wages and provide jobs for native-born Americans. Most economists, however, contend that reducing immigration will significantly hurt economic growth for years, especially given the aging of the native population.

Trump and his advisors, including Sessions in making the announcement, argue that reducing the ranks of low-skilled immigrants, legal and illegal, will raise wages and provide jobs for native-born Americans. Most economists, however, contend that reducing immigration will significantly hurt economic growth for years, especially given the aging of the native population.

Trump and his advisors, including Sessions in making the announcement, argue that reducing the ranks of low-skilled immigrants, legal and illegal, will raise wages and provide jobs for native-born Americans. Most economists, however, contend that reducing immigration will significantly hurt economic growth for years, especially given the aging of the native population.

Trump and his advisors, including Sessions in making the announcement, argue that reducing the ranks of low-skilled immigrants, legal and illegal, will raise wages and provide jobs for native-born Americans. Most economists, however, contend that reducing immigration will significantly hurt economic growth for years, especially given the aging of the native population.

Trump wrestled with the decision, he and his aides said, but ultimately decided to keep his campaign promise and let Congress resolve the issue. Even before his decision was public, Trump started the day with a tweet that signaled his intent and put the onus on lawmakers: “Congress, get ready to do your job — DACA!”

Trump wrestled with the decision, he and his aides said, but ultimately decided to keep his campaign promise and let Congress resolve the issue. Even before his decision was public, Trump started the day with a tweet that signaled his intent and put the onus on lawmakers: “Congress, get ready to do your job — DACA!”

Trump wrestled with the decision, he and his aides said, but ultimately decided to keep his campaign promise and let Congress resolve the issue. Even before his decision was public, Trump started the day with a tweet that signaled his intent and put the onus on lawmakers: “Congress, get ready to do your job — DACA!”

Trump wrestled with the decision, he and his aides said, but ultimately decided to keep his campaign promise and let Congress resolve the issue. Even before his decision was public, Trump started the day with a tweet that signaled his intent and put the onus on lawmakers: “Congress, get ready to do your job — DACA!”

Trump wrestled with the decision, he and his aides said, but ultimately decided to keep his campaign promise and let Congress resolve the issue. Even before his decision was public, Trump started the day with a tweet that signaled his intent and put the onus on lawmakers: “Congress, get ready to do your job — DACA!”

Trump wrestled with the decision, he and his aides said, but ultimately decided to keep his campaign promise and let Congress resolve the issue. Even before his decision was public, Trump started the day with a tweet that signaled his intent and put the onus on lawmakers: “Congress, get ready to do your job — DACA!”

Trump wrestled with the decision, he and his aides said, but ultimately decided to keep his campaign promise and let Congress resolve the issue. Even before his decision was public, Trump started the day with a tweet that signaled his intent and put the onus on lawmakers: “Congress, get ready to do your job — DACA!”

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Trump wrestled with the decision, he and his aides said, but ultimately decided to keep his campaign promise and let Congress resolve the issue. Even before his decision was public, Trump started the day with a tweet that signaled his intent and put the onus on lawmakers: “Congress, get ready to do your job — DACA!”

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Trump wrestled with the decision, he and his aides said, but ultimately decided to keep his campaign promise and let Congress resolve the issue. Even before his decision was public, Trump started the day with a tweet that signaled his intent and put the onus on lawmakers: “Congress, get ready to do your job — DACA!”

Trump wrestled with the decision, he and his aides said, but ultimately decided to keep his campaign promise and let Congress resolve the issue. Even before his decision was public, Trump started the day with a tweet that signaled his intent and put the onus on lawmakers: “Congress, get ready to do your job — DACA!”

Trump wrestled with the decision, he and his aides said, but ultimately decided to keep his campaign promise and let Congress resolve the issue. Even before his decision was public, Trump started the day with a tweet that signaled his intent and put the onus on lawmakers: “Congress, get ready to do your job — DACA!”

Trump wrestled with the decision, he and his aides said, but ultimately decided to keep his campaign promise and let Congress resolve the issue. Even before his decision was public, Trump started the day with a tweet that signaled his intent and put the onus on lawmakers: “Congress, get ready to do your job — DACA!”

Trump wrestled with the decision, he and his aides said, but ultimately decided to keep his campaign promise and let Congress resolve the issue. Even before his decision was public, Trump started the day with a tweet that signaled his intent and put the onus on lawmakers: “Congress, get ready to do your job — DACA!”

Trump wrestled with the decision, he and his aides said, but ultimately decided to keep his campaign promise and let Congress resolve the issue. Even before his decision was public, Trump started the day with a tweet that signaled his intent and put the onus on lawmakers: “Congress, get ready to do your job — DACA!”

Trump wrestled with the decision, he and his aides said, but ultimately decided to keep his campaign promise and let Congress resolve the issue. Even before his decision was public, Trump started the day with a tweet that signaled his intent and put the onus on lawmakers: “Congress, get ready to do your job — DACA!”

Trump wrestled with the decision, he and his aides said, but ultimately decided to keep his campaign promise and let Congress resolve the issue. Even before his decision was public, Trump started the day with a tweet that signaled his intent and put the onus on lawmakers: “Congress, get ready to do your job — DACA!”

Trump wrestled with the decision, he and his aides said, but ultimately decided to keep his campaign promise and let Congress resolve the issue. Even before his decision was public, Trump started the day with a tweet that signaled his intent and put the onus on lawmakers: “Congress, get ready to do your job — DACA!”

Trump wrestled with the decision, he and his aides said, but ultimately decided to keep his campaign promise and let Congress resolve the issue. Even before his decision was public, Trump started the day with a tweet that signaled his intent and put the onus on lawmakers: “Congress, get ready to do your job — DACA!”

Trump wrestled with the decision, he and his aides said, but ultimately decided to keep his campaign promise and let Congress resolve the issue. Even before his decision was public, Trump started the day with a tweet that signaled his intent and put the onus on lawmakers: “Congress, get ready to do your job — DACA!”

Trump wrestled with the decision, he and his aides said, but ultimately decided to keep his campaign promise and let Congress resolve the issue. Even before his decision was public, Trump started the day with a tweet that signaled his intent and put the onus on lawmakers: “Congress, get ready to do your job — DACA!”

Trump wrestled with the decision, he and his aides said, but ultimately decided to keep his campaign promise and let Congress resolve the issue. Even before his decision was public, Trump started the day with a tweet that signaled his intent and put the onus on lawmakers: “Congress, get ready to do your job — DACA!”

Trump wrestled with the decision, he and his aides said, but ultimately decided to keep his campaign promise and let Congress resolve the issue. Even before his decision was public, Trump started the day with a tweet that signaled his intent and put the onus on lawmakers: “Congress, get ready to do your job — DACA!”

Trump wrestled with the decision, he and his aides said, but ultimately decided to keep his campaign promise and let Congress resolve the issue. Even before his decision was public, Trump started the day with a tweet that signaled his intent and put the onus on lawmakers: “Congress, get ready to do your job — DACA!”

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Trump wrestled with the decision, he and his aides said, but ultimately decided to keep his campaign promise and let Congress resolve the issue. Even before his decision was public, Trump started the day with a tweet that signaled his intent and put the onus on lawmakers: “Congress, get ready to do your job — DACA!”

Trump wrestled with the decision, he and his aides said, but ultimately decided to keep his campaign promise and let Congress resolve the issue. Even before his decision was public, Trump started the day with a tweet that signaled his intent and put the onus on lawmakers: “Congress, get ready to do your job — DACA!”

Trump wrestled with the decision, he and his aides said, but ultimately decided to keep his campaign promise and let Congress resolve the issue. Even before his decision was public, Trump started the day with a tweet that signaled his intent and put the onus on lawmakers: “Congress, get ready to do your job — DACA!”

Trump wrestled with the decision, he and his aides said, but ultimately decided to keep his campaign promise and let Congress resolve the issue. Even before his decision was public, Trump started the day with a tweet that signaled his intent and put the onus on lawmakers: “Congress, get ready to do your job — DACA!”

Trump wrestled with the decision, he and his aides said, but ultimately decided to keep his campaign promise and let Congress resolve the issue. Even before his decision was public, Trump started the day with a tweet that signaled his intent and put the onus on lawmakers: “Congress, get ready to do your job — DACA!”

Trump wrestled with the decision, he and his aides said, but ultimately decided to keep his campaign promise and let Congress resolve the issue. Even before his decision was public, Trump started the day with a tweet that signaled his intent and put the onus on lawmakers: “Congress, get ready to do your job — DACA!”

Trump wrestled with the decision, he and his aides said, but ultimately decided to keep his campaign promise and let Congress resolve the issue. Even before his decision was public, Trump started the day with a tweet that signaled his intent and put the onus on lawmakers: “Congress, get ready to do your job — DACA!”

Trump wrestled with the decision, he and his aides said, but ultimately decided to keep his campaign promise and let Congress resolve the issue. Even before his decision was public, Trump started the day with a tweet that signaled his intent and put the onus on lawmakers: “Congress, get ready to do your job — DACA!”

Trump wrestled with the decision, he and his aides said, but ultimately decided to keep his campaign promise and let Congress resolve the issue. Even before his decision was public, Trump started the day with a tweet that signaled his intent and put the onus on lawmakers: “Congress, get ready to do your job — DACA!”

Trump wrestled with the decision, he and his aides said, but ultimately decided to keep his campaign promise and let Congress resolve the issue. Even before his decision was public, Trump started the day with a tweet that signaled his intent and put the onus on lawmakers: “Congress, get ready to do your job — DACA!”

Trump wrestled with the decision, he and his aides said, but ultimately decided to keep his campaign promise and let Congress resolve the issue. Even before his decision was public, Trump started the day with a tweet that signaled his intent and put the onus on lawmakers: “Congress, get ready to do your job — DACA!”

Trump wrestled with the decision, he and his aides said, but ultimately decided to keep his campaign promise and let Congress resolve the issue. Even before his decision was public, Trump started the day with a tweet that signaled his intent and put the onus on lawmakers: “Congress, get ready to do your job — DACA!”

Trump wrestled with the decision, he and his aides said, but ultimately decided to keep his campaign promise and let Congress resolve the issue. Even before his decision was public, Trump started the day with a tweet that signaled his intent and put the onus on lawmakers: “Congress, get ready to do your job — DACA!”

Trump wrestled with the decision, he and his aides said, but ultimately decided to keep his campaign promise and let Congress resolve the issue. Even before his decision was public, Trump started the day with a tweet that signaled his intent and put the onus on lawmakers: “Congress, get ready to do your job — DACA!”

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