US President Donald Trump is reportedly considering ending the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) programme and Twitter has furiously slammed him for it. The programme has allowed nearly 800,000 people brought to the US as children to stay and obtain two-year work permits and deferred deportation.
During the election campaign last year, Trump repeatedly vowed to terminate the programme and clamp down on illegal immigration. During his presidency, however, he said they would "deal with DACA with heart" and said the issue is "very, very difficult."
Trump is expected to announce the plan "as early as Friday" allowing the so-called Dreamers to stay until their work permits expire, Reuters reports.
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said a final decision "has not been made" and the issue is "still under review."
Vice President Mike Pence told ABC News: "President Trump has said all along that he's giving very careful consideration to that issue and that when he makes his decision he'll make it, as he likes to say, with big heart."
The potential changes immediately drew fierce, widespread criticism from lawmakers, Silicon Valley, businesses, and social media users who slammed the decision "unbelievably cruel" and harmful for the economy.
"Mr President, you promised compassion for Dreamers. Ending DACA is as heartless as it is pointless. These kids have no other home but here," Representative Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, tweeted.
Former US Attorney General Eric Holder tweeted: "Moral & logical promises were made to Dreamers. They must be kept. This Administration must do the right thing. Keep #DACA - a defining moment."
"The cruelty of this will know no bounds. Dreamers have known only this country as home", Vanita Gupta, the president and chief executive of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, tweeted.
"Dreamers are more American than the President of the United States", one person tweeted. Another wrote: "Let's be clear, Trump wanting to end DACA isn't about policy or crime, it's about destroying every good thing Obama did. It's about racism.