U.S. President Donald Trump told 800,000 young undocumented immigrants in the United States they "have nothing to worry about" being deported during the next six months, while Congress works on a plan to allow them to permanently stay in the country.
Trump, in a Twitter comment Thursday, said that for those "concerned about your status," they need not be concerned, that "no action" would be taken to send them back to their home countries years after their parents illegally brought them into the United States. Many of the immigrants know only the United States as their home country.
Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic minority leader in the House of Representatives, said Trump had called her and she asked him to reassure the immigrants that their status would not change over the next six months, that the time span "is not a period of roundup," that the program "is frozen and that these people will not be vulnerable.”
Trump earlier this week rescinded former President Barack Obama's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program that allowed the immigrants to study and work in the United States and serve in its military. But he delayed the end of the program for six months to give Congress a chance to approve immigration legislation, including protections for the young immigrants, often popularly called Dreamers.
It is unclear what might happen for the immigrants if Congress does not act in the next six months, but Trump says he would revisit his decision overturning the Obama program if lawmakers do not act to protect them against deportation.
On Wednesday, Trump said he is confident Congress will act on the issue.
"Congress, I really believe, wants to take care of this situation," Trump told reporters. "I really believe it, even very conservative members of Congress."
Trump said he would like immigration legislation that includes protection for the undocumented immigrants and "something where we have good border security." But the shape of any immigration legislation is uncertain, with lawmakers failing repeatedly in recent years to overhaul the country's immigration policies.
Fifteen states and the national capital, Washington, filed suit Wednesday against the Trump administration to stop plans to end the DACA program.
They argued that Trump's decision is unconstitutional because it would deny those affected the due process of law against arbitrary punishment.
New York state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman called Trump's plans "cruel, shortsighted and inhumane." He accused the president of showing his bias against Mexicans and Latinos. Most of the undocumented immigrants covered by the Obama plan came from Mexico or Central American countries.