Former President Barack Obama is planning to speak out if the threat by President Donald Trump declares to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program is carried out, according to a person close to Obama.
Trump is expected to announce on Tuesday that in six months, he will terminate the Obama-era DACA initiative, which grants two-year work permits to undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children and stayed out of trouble. POLITICO first reported the news.
Obama used executive actions to launch the program in June 2012, providing assurances before his re-election that he would protect the so-called “Dreamers.” Trump had suggested in the past that he didn’t want to deport Dreamers, saying in April that they should “rest easy,” but the immigration hawks in his administration have argued that DACA is an illegal program.
Obama’s current plan is to post a statement on Facebook and link to it on Twitter, where the former president has more than 94 million followers. In his final presidential press availability, he suggested that he would speak out if Trump went after the Dreamers — and that it was one of the few issues where he would feel morally compelled to do so. He said he would not remain silent in the face of “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.
In fact, Obama has largely avoided direct criticism of his successor, even though some of his supporters have clamored for him to lead the resistance to Trump, even as Trump has repeatedly attacked him by name and tried to roll back his legacy. The thinking in Obama’s inner circle is that he must choose his spots to join the national debate, trying to remain above the fray, focus on his foundation, and let other Democrats take the lead. He wants to follow the traditions of other post-presidents, and he isn’t eager to engage in fights with a political brawler who’s always looking for a foil to rally the Republican base.
“The notion that we would just arbitrarily or because of politics punish those kids, when they didn’t do anything wrong themselves, I think would be something that would merit me speaking out,” he said at the Jan. 18 news conference.