White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Thursday that President Donald Trump has not come to a decision on whether to continue Barack Obama's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
Conflicting reports have come out about the program, with some sources inside the White House saying Trump would end the program and others saying he was having second thoughts. Then on Thursday, Fox News reported that Trump was getting ready to announce as early as Friday that he is ending DACA, but Sanders denied that a decision had been made.
"Final decision on that front has not been made," Sanders said about DACA. "And when it is, we will certainly inform everybody in this room."
New York Times reporter Glenn Thrush then asked specifically about the Fox report and whether the White House was denying it. Sanders reiterated that DACA is under review and said she is "better informed" than the Fox reporters who claimed a decision had been made.
"No offense to your colleague from Fox News, but I think I'm a little bit better informed than they are in terms of when the White House has made a decision," Sanders said. "And as I just said a moment ago, it has not been finalized, and when it is, we will certainly let you know."
NBC reporter Hallie Jackson then asked about the White House's timeline on DACA. Jackson pointed out that 10 states that pledged to fight DACA in court had set Sept. 5 as a deadline for the White House to end the program, but Sanders said that putting the White House's review on a timeline would be getting ahead of the issue.
"I'm not going to get ahead of something and be presumptuous when a decision hasn't been made," Sanders said. "We don't know when the final review is going to be completed, so it would be disingenuous for me to create a false timeline that simply isn't workable."
If the White House does not announce a decision before Labor Day, it could face a court challenge from states charging that DACA is unconstitutional. Many doubt that the program could withstand a legal challenge, including White House chief of staff John Kelly, although he supports protecting so-called Dreamers, young immigrants who came to the U.S. illegally when they were children.
As secretary of homeland security, Kelly said that lawmakers should overcome the legal challenges to DACA by passing legislation rather than relying on Obama's executive order. Others believe the act is constitutional; a similar program launched by Obama lost in court in 2014.
DACA protects those who arrived in the U.S. as children or young teenagers without legal status. Trump promised on the campaign trail to rescind this executive action by Obama, which critics of the program are urging him to do now.
"Our position has been that President Trump should allow DACA to lapse," Ira Mehlman of the Federation for American Immigration Reform told Fox News. "As people's two-year deferments and work authorization expire they should not be renewed."
When Trump came into office he expressed sympathy for DACA recipients and has allowed the program to continue while it undergoes a review.