Trump claims some DACA recipients 'hardened criminals' ahead of Supreme Court arguments

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court takes up a case that will determine the fate of the Obama-era program that has allowed about 800,000 young people who entered the country as children.
DACA Protest in Washington
Demonstrators raise their fists in protest of President Trump's attempts to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) outside the Capitol on March 5, 2018.Samuel Corum / Anadolu Agency/Getty Images file

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By Allan Smith

President Donald Trump on Tuesday compared some recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program to "hardened criminals," but said if the Supreme Court rules the way he prefers, he will cut a deal with Democrats.

"Many of the people in DACA, no longer very young, are far from 'angels,'" he claimed on Twitter. "Some are very tough, hardened criminals. President [Barack] Obama said he had no legal right to sign order, but would anyway. If Supreme Court remedies with overturn, a deal will be made with Dems for them to stay!"

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court takes up a case that will determine the fate of the Obama-era program that has allowed about 800,000 young people who entered the country as children, known as dreamers, to avoid deportation.

Dreamers have a lower-rate of incarceration than native-born Americans, according to a 2017 study by the libertarian CATO Institute. And only qualified dreamers who have "not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor or three or more other misdemeanors" can even be considered for DACA status, according to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

The court is deciding on whether the Trump administration improperly sought to shut down DACA by labeling it illegal without offering any analysis on how it would affect immigrants. The Justice Department says such analysis was not needed. DACA defenders say federal law requires the Trump administration to provide a detailed explanation for why it wants to end such a program.

Obama launched the initiative in 2012, allowing children of undocumented immigrants to stay in the country if they entered the country before their 16th birthday and if they arrived by 2007. The former president created the program through executive order.

More than 90 percent of DACA recipients are employed and nearly half are in schools, figures show.