The Slatest

Obama Reportedly Plans to Speak Up if Trump Ends DACA

President Barack Obama leaves after giving his final presidential press conference on Jan. 18 at the White House.

Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images

Former President Barack Obama doesn’t plan to sit idly by if his successor does what everyone expects him to do now and announces an end to the current protections for undocumented immigrants who arrived to the country as children, known as “Dreamers.” It’s likely that President Donald Trump will cancel the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program on Tuesday, although with a six-month delay to give Congress time to act. If Trump does go through with it, then Obama will post a statement on Facebook and link it to Twitter, reports Politico.

Obama had suggested at the end of his tenure that he would be morally compelled to speak up if the future of DACA was under threat. In his last press conference, Obama said he would speak up if “I think our core values may be at stake.” He went on to explain what that meant, making it clear DACA was part of those “core values”:

I put in that category, if I saw systematic discrimination being ratified in some fashion. I put in that category, explicit or functional obstacles to people being able to vote, to exercise their franchise. I put in that category institutional efforts to silence dissent or the press. And for me at least I would put in that category, efforts to round up kids who have grown up here and for all practical purposes are American kids and send them someplace else. When they love this country, they are our kids, friends, and classmates, and are now entering into community colleges and in some places serving in our military.

On Monday the debate about the future of the Obama-era program quickly turned to Congress as some Republicans said they could be open to approving legislation that would protect at least some of the roughly 800,000 immigrants who benefit from the program. “I have always believed DACA was a presidential overreach. However, I equally understand the plight of the Dream Act kids who—for all practical purposes—know no country other than America,” Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said in a statement Monday. “If President Trump makes this decision we will work to find a legislative solution to their dilemma.” Despite the positive words, though, everyone pretty much agrees it’s highly unlikely the sharply divided Congress could agree to a compromise deal at a time when lawmakers have so much on their plate already.