President Donald Trump is leaning toward ending the Obama-era program that allows young undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as children to remain, two sources told NBC News.
But the end of the policy, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, better known as DACA, would come with a six-month delay, possibly giving Congress a window to act on the program.
The decision, which was first reported by Politico and is likely to come Tuesday, is not final until it is announced, the sources said.
President Barack Obama created DACA through an executive order in 2012 for people without serious criminal histories who were younger than 16 when they came to the United States before 2007.
About 800,000 people are covered under the policy, although immigrant rights advocates have said 200,000 more have sought DACA status since Trump became president.
Although House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., urged Trump last week to keep the program and allow Congress to fix it, other Republicans have described it as illegal.
In June, 10 Republican attorneys general and the governor of Idaho told the White House that they wouldn't challenge the Trump administration in federal court if Obama's executive order is rescinded by Tuesday.
Civil rights advocates and Democrats have warned Trump that ending the policy would be "a grave moral and legal error," as Vanita Gupta, director of the Leadership Conference on Human Rights and former head of the Justice Department's civil rights division under Obama, put it last month.
In a Twitter post on Sunday, Senate Democratic leader Charles Schumer of New York said DACA recipients were "kids who only want to be good, hardworking Americans. @POTUS ought to rethink before he does huge damage to them & their families."
Obama told Trump when he was president-elect to think "long and hard" about ending the program, and he promised to speak out should the administration move to do so.
"The notion that we would just arbitrarily or because of politics punish those kids when they didn't do something themselves ... would merit my speaking out," Obama said.
During the 2016 campaign, Trump said he would cancel DACA. But in late April he sent a different message, telling The Associated Press that young people covered by the program could "rest easy" because his priority was deporting criminals. "This is a case of heart," he said.