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Ahead of a big meeting about how to help the new president make good on his promise to reform the nation’s immigration system, the White House on Wednesday unveiled a set of proposed changes meant to make it easier for immigrants to stay in the U.S.
White House press secretary Sean Spicer, speaking Wednesday to a gathering of Latino leaders, said the proposed changes offer options in light of a Supreme Court decision last year that essentially shut down the deferred action program, known as DACA, that some of the president’s supporters argue has allowed immigrants to avoid deportation.
The changes will give applicants to the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA) program two years to come up with proof of legal authorization. The same applies to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, although the new measures will give DACA recipients longer time to prove their legal standing.
The reforms will also allow a six-month period for people who were brought to U.S. as minors to petition for an extension of their “deferred status,” according to Spicer. And those seeking to come here as children will no longer be able to live here as long as they are here without permission from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, as long as they first have received deportation relief, he said.
Read more: Immigration reform could help Trump’s bid to bring jobs back to U.S.
Related: How DACA changes would affect hundreds of thousands of foreign college students
There is no timeline for the implementation of the changes, but some advocates have complained that those who’ve sought protection would be able to apply for an extension much sooner and be given the benefit of more time to prove their legal standing.
The White House has long called on Congress to pass legislation, or DACA reform, to provide a way for young immigrants to avoid deportation and remain in the country. But Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch, a Utah Republican, has argued the program doesn’t do enough to fix the broken immigration system.
The President’s decision last year to end the DACA policy, which protects some 4 million young immigrants from deportation, made a lot of Republicans wary of the plan, which Democrats say is a necessary step in the fight against immigration violence.
That could be a consideration for the new administration. Trump has not yet announced a plan to replace DACA, despite the fact it has been in place since 2012.
The White House