President Donald Trump defended the decision to end the DACA program protecting roughly 800,000 people from deportation in a written statement sent out by the White House about an hour after Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced it.
Sessions announced Tuesday that the administration was rescinding the program, which protects from deportation people brought here as children illegally by their parents, in a press conference.
After reading a detailed statement at 11 am Easter Time at the Justice Department, Sessions walked out of the briefing room where reporters and TV cameras were gathered.
'Thank you,' he said, raising his hand to waive to the cameras before walking off.
President Donald Trump defended the decision to end the DACA program in a written statement
About an hour later, the White House issued a lengthy statement from President Trump explaining the arguments for the decision. Trump had not planned press events, although Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was to face the media on his behalf Tuesday afternoon.
Having the president step back from the announcement could allow him to gain some separation from a decision he has wrestled with for months, and potentially provide maneuvering room should Congress actually produce a legislative product.
'Trump's cowardice is on full display today. His cruelty must not stand! #ProtectDREAMers,' wrote House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California on Twitter.
Jeff Sessions makes announcement on DACA decision in a speech carried live by cable networks
Trump wrote in the statement: 'As President, my highest duty is to defend the American people and the Constitution of the United States of America. At the same time, I do not favor punishing children, most of whom are now adults, for the actions of their parents.'
He continued: 'But we must also recognize that we are nation of opportunity because we are a nation of laws.'
Trump said President Barack Obama's order 'bypassed Congress to give work permits, social security numbers, and federal benefits to approximately 800,000 illegal immigrants currently between the ages of 15 and 36. The