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Decision on US DACA Program Expected as Soon as Friday

FILE - A woman holds up a signs in support of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, during an immigration reform rally at the White House in Washington, Aug. 15, 2017.

U.S. news reports say President Donald Trump could decide as early as Friday whether to end the Obama administration policy that protects children of undocumented immigrants who entered the United States illegally.

On Thursday, White House spokeswoman Sara Huckabee Sanders told reporters the Trump administration is still reviewing the program known as DACA, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. Sanders added that "a decision hasn't been made ... there are a lot of conversations about the timeline." She said nothing has been finalized.

Trump had pledged on the campaign trail to scrap the program, calling it "amnesty." Since taking office, he has said the issue is one of the most difficult he has dealt with as president.

His administration faces a September 5 deadline for a decision, set by a group of state attorneys grappling with the issue in their states. But it is possible the administration could negotiate an extension, based on the fact that the Department of Homeland Security — the agency responsible for implementing the change — currently is occupied with the substantial aftermath of Hurricane Harvey in Texas and Louisiana.

DACA has given nearly 800,000 people a reprieve from deportation by providing two-year, renewable work permits for eligible applicants.