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United States

Trump readies to rescind DACA immigration amnesty program

Trump is poised to give Congress six months to "fix" the scheme that protects non-criminal childhood arrivals to the US from deportation. The move has been criticized by top Republicans an Democrats alike.

US President Donald Trump was expected on Tuesday to announce his plans to scrap a program that protects some undocumented immigrants who came to the US as children.

Attorney General Jeff Session said he would make the announcement on the administration's behalf around 11 a.m. local time.

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) was enacted in 2012 under President Barack Obama to protect young people from being deported back to a country of which they might have little knowledge or where they lack remaining family connections. In order to qualify for the program, immigrants had to have arrived in the US before the age of 16, have completed high school, and have no significant criminal record.

States threaten lawsuits

The states of New York and Washington have already announced plans to sue the Trump administration should it go forward with its plan to cancel the program.

"The president's action would upend the lives of hundreds of thousands of young people who have only ever called America their home,"  said New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and the state's attorney general, Eric Schneiderman, in a joint statement.

Bob Ferguson, Washtingon's attorney general, said he would "use all the legal tools at my disposal to defend the thousands of Dreamers in Washington state," referring to a nickname for DACA immigrants.

The so-called "Dreamers" account for just a tiny fraction of the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants in the United States.

After the announcement, Congress will have six months to craft legislation to replace the program.

The move from Trump comes after nine Republican state governors threatened to launch legal suits against DACA if it wasn't rescinded.

Critics have argued that canceling the program could separate families and send young people back to countries they may not have seen since their infancy.

Many top Republicans, including Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and the ardently pro-immigration reform Senator Tom Cotton, have urged Trump not to target Dreamers when shaping his policies.

es/ (AP, Reuters)

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