Washington (AFP) - The Trump administration announced that it is cancelling an Obama-era policy to allow millions of illegal-immigrant parents of children born in the United States to stay in the country.
The 2014 policy, known as DAPA, for Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents, aimed to help the families of so-called "dreamer" children stay together free from the threat of deportation.
It was never implemented after 26 states successfully sued in a Texas federal district court to block it. The US Supreme Court let the lower court ruling stand last year after a four-four tie vote.
Set out in a memo from the administration of then-president Barack Obama, the policy said the government would defer any action against illegal immigrant parents of children who are lawful permanent residents -- mainly those born in the country to parents without legal status.
DAPA would have affected as many as four million people by some estimates, those with US-born children who were in the country before 2010.
But the Department of Homeland Security announced it was rescinding the policy with the support of the Justice Department. DHS Secretary John Kelly explained the move saying "there is no credible path forward to litigate the currently enjoined policy."
It comes amid a tough crackdown on illegal immigration ordered by President Donald Trump. Kelly did not say whether the government has plans to replace DAPA with another measure that would allow families living in the country for decades to remain together without the threat of deportation.
However, DHS said on Thursday that it is leaving in place a 2012 Obama policy known as DACA -- Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals -- that allowed people who entered the country illegally as children to stay and study or work on two-year renewals.
It aimed to allow between one and two million younger people who arrived in the country illegally to stay in school and complete their studies.