US President Donald Trump claimed on Friday that he will sign an executive order on immigration in the next few weeks with a road to citizenship for migrants who are in the United States illegally but arrived in the country as children.
In an interview with Spanish-language TV network Telemundo, Trump said one aspect of the measure would involve Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), the programme that protects hundreds of thousands of such immigrants – often called “Dreamers” – from deportation.
“I’m going to do a big executive order … And I’m going to make DACA a part of it,” Trump said. “We’re going to have a road to citizenship.”
A White House spokesman later said any orders by the president will not include amnesty for migrants who are in the US illegally but arrived in the country as children.
“This does not include amnesty,” White House spokesman Judd Deere said in a statement.
The US Supreme Court last month dealt a major setback to Trump’s hardline immigration policies, blocking his bid to end DACA, which was created in 2012 by his Democratic predecessor, Barack Obama.
The ruling did not prevent Trump from trying again to end the programme. But his administration may find it difficult to rescind it – and win any ensuing legal battle – before the November 3 election in which he is seeking a second term in office.
Trump’s remarks drew an immediate rebuke from his fellow Republican, Senator Ted Cruz, who wrote in a Twitter post that “it would be a HUGE mistake if Trump tries to illegally expand amnesty.”
“There is ZERO constitutional authority for a President to create a “road to citizenship” by executive fiat,” Cruz wrote.