In a newly published interview with Time, which proclaimed him "Person of the Year" on Wednesday, President-elect Donald Trump seemed to signal that he would not deport "DREAMers," the colloquial name given to the beneficiaries of one of President Barack Obama's executive orders on immigration. These illegal immigrants have been given a reprieve on deportation, as well as other benefits, as a result of Obama's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which many critics have called a form of "executive amnesty." There are approximately 740,000 DREAMers living in this country.
On the campaign trail, Trump was a critic of the program, which he suggested was harmful to American workers and children.
He also specifically promised on a number of occasions to repeal Obama's executive actions on immigration. In his Time interview, however, Trump said:
I want Dreamers for our children also. We’re going to work something out. On a humanitarian basis it’s a very tough situation. We’re going to work something out that’s going to make people happy and proud. But that’s a very tough situation.
By way of further explanation, Trump stated:
They got brought here at a very young age, they’ve worked here, they’ve gone to school here. Some were good students. Some have wonderful jobs. And they’re in never-never land because they don’t know what’s going to happen.
These comments, though not detailed, signal that Trump is open to allowing at least some portion of the DREAMers to stay in the country and to achieve some sort of permanent legal status.
Trump's comments echoed those of other Republicans like Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, who plans to put forward a bill in the next congressional session that would permit most DREAMers to stay in the country permanently. Trump has not yet rescinded his promise to revoke Obama's executive order, but it appears that Trump may be ready to work with Congress to provide a solution for DACA beneficiaries who are currently in this country.