US President Donald Trump has declared as “dead” a program that protects immigrants brought to the United States illegally as children and pressed Congress to immediately pass legislation to secure the US border with Mexico.
Trump, who has taken a hard line toward immigration, said in September he would terminate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program introduced by his Democratic predecessor, Barack Obama, but gave the Republican-controlled Congress until March 6 to replace it.
Congress failed to meet that deadline, but courts have ruled the program can remain in place for now.
The Republican president said in a Twitter post, DACA is dead because the Democrats did not care or act, and now everyone wants to get onto the DACA bandwagon.
Senior administration officials told reporters that legislation was being prepared aimed at helping expedite some deportations of immigrants in the country illegally.
They did not provide a timetable for submitting it to Congress and did not say whether provisions to help DACA recipients would be included.
Democrats blamed Trump for the tenuous status of a program that shielded hundreds of thousands of immigrants, often called “Dreamers,” from deportation and gave them work permits.
Trump also reiterated his call for Mexico to stop people from entering the United States, after saying on Sunday he would terminate a major trade accord with Mexico if it did not do more to secure its border with the United States.
The United States is renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement with Mexico and Canada.