The future of an Obama-era deportation relief program remains undecided, the Department of Homeland Security said Friday.
The announcement was meant to clarify the department’s position on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which allows nearly 788,000 undocumented immigrants to apply for work permits and live in the U.S. without fear of deportation.
“The future of the DACA program continues to be under review with the administration,” a DHS spokesperson said in a written statement. “The president has remarked on the need to handle the issue with compassion and with heart."
DHS felt compelled to issue a statement on the program’s fate after POLITICO and other outlets reported Thursday on guidance posted to the DHS website that suggested DACA would remain on firm footing under the Trump administration.
The guidance came as the administration terminated a separate deportation relief program for parents of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents that had been blocked by federal courts since early 2015.
On its website, DHS assured that DACA would not be affected by the move. “No work permits will be terminated prior to their current expiration dates,” the guidance read.
The department said today that it only intended to clarify that DACA would not be immediately canceled. The guidance, DHS said, “should not be interpreted as bearing any relevance on the long-term future of that program.”