The White House promised a decision Tuesday on so-called Dreamers as the nation’s business, religious and congressional leaders urge President Trump to save the DACA program that shields young immigrants from deportation and provides work permits for employment.
“We love the Dreamers,” Trump said during an event Friday at the White House. “Over the weekend, we’ll have a decision."
Later, Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the announcement will be made Tuesday.
The pending decision comes as House Speaker Paul D. Ryan joined Friday with executives of some of the nation’s most well-known companies -- Google, General Motors, Microsoft, Starbucks -- urging Trump not to dismantle the program for the young immigrants, whose compelling stories of growing up in the United States, after being brought to the country illegally as children, have engendered widespread and bipartisan support.
Trump is under enormous pressure to end the Obama-era protections for Dreamers, as the young people are called, prodded by immigration critics and 10 Republican attorneys general who are expected to file a legal challenge next week.
But Trump appears conflicted, having promised to have “heart” when it comes to the more than 750,000 young immigrants who have registered with the federal government and whose ability to work and remain in the U.S. would be in jeopardy.
The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program provides temporary, two-year permits that protect the immigrants from deportation if they remain lawful, are working or attending school or join the military.
As Trump heads to Texas on Saturday to survey damage from Gulf Coast storm Harvey, he is likely to be met by many Dreamers who number 50,000 in Houston and have been a longtime, organized presence in the region.
“Dreamers are vital to the future of our companies and our economy. With them, we grow and create jobs,” wrote hundreds of business and tech industry leaders, including executives of Apple, EBay, Crate and Barrel and Cushman & Wakefield/PICOR.
“As entrepreneurs and business leaders, we are concerned about new developments in immigration policy that threaten the future of young undocumented immigrants brought to America as children,” the business leaders wrote.
Ryan said Friday that Trump should not end the program and instead hold off while Congress considers a legislative solution for the young people in “limbo."
“I actually don’t think he should do that,” Ryan said on WCLO radio in his hometown of Janesville, Wis., according to CNN. “I believe that this is something that Congress has to fix.”
Another top Republican, Sen Orrin Hatch of Utah, also weighed in Friday. “I’ve urged the President not to rescind DACA,” Hatch wrote on Twitter, arguing that the solution “must come from Congress.”
Religious leaders, including evangelical Christians, have also joined in support of maintaining the program.
Studies show that most DACA recipients — 87% — are using their work permits to gain legal employment, and 83% of those in school also are working.
About 6% of DACA recipients have started businesses and 12% are now homeowners, according to the report from the Center for American Progress, a liberal-leaning advocacy group.
“I stand with the Dreamers,” Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg wrote Friday.
“Dreamers have a special love for this country because they can’t take living here for granted. ... We need a government that protects Dreamers,” Zuckerberg wrote. “These young people represent the future of our country and our economy. They are our friends and family, students and young leaders in our communities. I hope you will join us in speaking out.”
Trump’s administration has stepped up detentions of immigrants here illegally since January, largely doing away with Obama-era enforcement priorities that targeted those with criminal backgrounds.
The business leaders, organized by immigration advocate Fwd.us, also called on Congress to intervene with a legislative fix to ensure the young people will not lose their protected status and face deportation.
“We call on President Trump to preserve the DACA program. We call on Congress to pass the bipartisan DREAM Act or legislation that provides these young people raised in our country the permanent solution they deserve.”
Ever since the collapse of a bipartisan immigration overhaul in 2013, Congressional has not delved deeply into the issue, but several bills are now pending in Congress to protect the Dreamers.
12:28 p.m.: This article was updated with Trump’s comments.
Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that Cushman & Wakefield, a Chicago-based real estate firm, had signed a letter asking Trump not to end DACA. It was Cushman & Wakefield/PICOR, a separate real estate company based in Tucson, Ariz.