WASHINGTON/MIAMI The Trump administration is still reviewing a policy set in 2012 by U.S. President Barack Obama that protects from deportation nearly 600,000 immigrants brought into the country illegally by their parents, known as "Dreamers," a White House spokesman said on Friday.
"No final determination has been made," said the spokesman, who asked that his name not be used.
Rescinding the policy known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, would anger those who have said President Donald Trump is already too tough on immigration enforcement. But leaving it in place would conflict with a promise Trump made on the presidential campaign trail.
There was confusion over whether the policy would remain in place late Thursday after the Department of Homeland Security published a notice that it would rescind another Obama-era immigration policy.
The other policy, known as Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents, or DAPA, was written in 2014 to protect illegal immigrant parents with children who are U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents. The policy never went into effect because federal courts put it on hold.
The head of the Department of Homeland Security, John Kelly, said on Friday that the agency only rescinded the policy that had faced legal challenges.
DAPA "was immediately enjoined by the courts and it languished in limbo for two or three years, so my action yesterday was just a little housecleaning," Kelly said at a meeting in Miami with Latin American leaders on security in Central America.
"DACA that applies to students has not been changed," Kelly said. The DHS statement also said DACA "will remain in effect."
The White House spokesman said the statement was only meant to clarify that the rescission of the program for parents would have no impact on the program for immigrants who arrived as children.
Trump had pledged on the campaign trail to rescind all of Obama's executive orders on immigration, including DACA.
But as president, he has said his administration was devising a policy on how to deal with individuals covered by DACA. No formal changes have been announced.
(Reporting by Julia Edwards Ainsley in Washington and Mica Rosenberg in Miami; Additional repDan Levine in San Francisco; Editing by Noeleen Walder and Jonathan Oatis)