Trump's decision on young immigrants could begin GOP battle

Supporters of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, chant slogans and holds signs while joining a Labor Day rally in downtown Los Angeles on Monday, Sept. 4, 2017. President Donald Trump is expected to announce this week that he will end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, but with a six-month delay, according to two people familiar with the decision-making. (AP Photo/Richard Vogel)

The Associated Press

A plan President Donald Trump is expected to announce to remove a shield from deportation within six months for young immigrants brought to the country illegally as children is being denounced by some Republicans as the beginning of a "civil war" within the party.

Others in the GOP support such a move, but the varying responses serve as an illustration of the potential battles ahead if Trump follows through with his plan, handing a political hot potato to congressional Republicans who have a long history of dropping it.

Two people familiar with Trump's decision making said Sunday that the president was preparing to announce an end to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA program, but with a six-month delay intended to give Congress time to pass legislation that would address the status of the hundreds of thousands of immigrants covered by the program.

The White House has said Trump's decision would be announced Tuesday, not necessarily by Trump. The Justice Department announced late Monday that Attorney General Jeff Session would address the program at a morning briefing.

Trump's decision would come after a long and notably public deliberation. Despite campaigning as an immigration hard-liner, Trump has said he is sympathetic to the plight of the immigrants who came to the U.S. illegally as children and in some cases have no memories of the countries they were born in.

But such an approach — essentially kicking the can down the road and letting Congress deal with it— is fraught with uncertainty and political perils that amount, according to one vocal opponent, to "Republican suicide."

Still other Republicans say they are ready to take on a topic that has proven a non-starter and career-breaker for decades.

Officials caution that Trump's plan is not yet finalized, and the president, who has been grappling with the issue for months, has been known to change his mind at the last minute ahead of an announcement. It also remains unclear exactly how a six-month delay would work in practice, including whether the government would continue to process applications under the program, which has given nearly 800,000 young immigrants a reprieve from deportation and the ability to work legally in the country in the form of two-year, renewable permits.

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