President Donald Trump will announce Tuesday whether he will scrap an Obama-era policy that protects hundreds of thousands of young undocumented immigrants from deportation, the president's press secretary said Friday.
"We're in the process of finalizing that decision and those details," Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters at her daily news briefing. "We'll announce the decision on Tuesday."
Sanders' comments came just two hours after Trump had said the decision was coming Friday or over the weekend.
"We love the Dreamers. We love everybody," Trump said. "We think the Dreamers are terrific."
Dreamers have been waiting anxiously since Trump's inauguration as president for an announcement on their fate.
A decision to eliminate President Obama's 5-year-old DACA program would put 800,000 undocumented immigrants nationwide and 30,000 in Arizona in line for deportation to a home country few of them have ever known.
The DACA program -- Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals -- provides protection from deportation for young undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children and gives them work permits that must be renewed every two years.
Many DACA recipients attend community college or university, have jobs or have bought homes.
As a candidate, Trump pledged to toss out DACA immediately upon taking office, labeling it an "illegal amnesty."
But as president, Trump has softened his tone, claiming the Dreamers were going to like what he did.
At the same time, the Trump administration has ramped up deportations of criminal and non-criminal undocumented immigrants, heightening fears among Dreamers that they could be targeted.
Adding to that fear: In applying for a DACA permit, they had to give the U.S. Department of Homeland Security a home address.
There were several other developments Friday in the countdown to a decision:
Postpone deadline: Trump's decision on DACA is being driven by a legal threat from several Republican state attorneys general, who gave Trump an ultimatum earlier this summer: End DACA by Sept. 5 -- next Tuesday -- or they will sue to end DACA.
Republicans have long argued that Obama's executive action on DACA was an unconstitutional overreach.
Trump Chief of Staff John Kelly cautioned Democrats in July, while he was still homeland security secretary, that the Trump administration couldn't commit to defending DACA in court.
Kelly did say he personally supported DACA, but legal experts had told him it wouldn't survive a court challenge.
There were reports Friday that the White House was asking the AGs to postpone what amounts to an artificial deadline for a lawsuit.
Later in the the day, Tennessee's attorney general backed out of the AG group opposing DACA. He urged Congress to fix the problem.
Ryan says hold off: House Speaker Paul Ryan said the president should delay a decision while Congress fixes DACA with legislation.
"I actually don't think he should do that," Ryan said. "I believe that this is something that Congress has to fix."
'Conservative Dream Act': Republican Sen. Thom Tillis offered Trump a way out of his decision with a "conservative Dream Act," a bill that would provide a path to permanent residency for the Dreamers.
The Dreamers get their name from a succession of bills in Congress, dating back almost 20 years, that set out to give them legal status but ultimately failed to pass.
Top executives send letter: An "open letter from leaders of American industry" was sent to Trump and the Republican and Democratic leaders in Congress.
The letter was signed by the chief executives of Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Starbucks, United Airlines, Marriott and many others. It says in part:
Unless we act now to preserve the DACA program, all 780,000 hardworking young people will lose their ability to work legally in this country, and every one of them will be at immediate risk of deportation. Our economy would lose $460.3 billion from the national GDP and $24.6 billion in Social Security and Medicare tax contributions.
Dreamers are vital to the future of our companies and our economy. With them, we grow and create jobs. They are part of why we will continue to have a global competitive advantage.
We call on President Trump to preserve the DACA program.
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