Sources: Trump aides divided over policy shielding 'dreamer' immigrants

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Divisions have emerged among advisers to President Donald Trump over whether to rescind a signature policy of his predecessor, President Barack Obama, that shields young immigrants from deportation, according to congressional sources and Republicans close to the White House.

Even though Trump campaigned on a promise to roll back Obama's executive orders on immigration, the Republican has so far left intact an order safeguarding 750,000 people who were brought to the United States illegally as children, known as the "dreamers."

SEE ALSO: President Trump breaks Obama's record of most executive actions in first week

The issue has become a flashpoint for White House advisers divided between a more moderate faction such as chief of staff Reince Priebus and immigration hardliners Stephen Miller and Steve Bannon, said a former congressional aide who has been involved with immigration issues in Washington.

Priebus has said publicly that Trump will work with Congress to get a "long-term solution" on the issue.

Meanwhile, Miller, said to have mastered the thinking of his former boss and anti-immigration advocate Jeff Sessions, Trump's nominee for U.S. Attorney General, as well as Bannon, former head of right-wing Breitbart News, have pushed Trump to take a harder approach and rescind the protections.

Two officials at the Department of Homeland Security expect Trump to simply stop renewing the authorizations that "dreamers" currently have to work, drive and obtain higher education. Under that plan, the most recently renewed authorizations would expire in two years.

But a senior House Republican aide said it was uncertain whether the administration had scrapped the idea of overturning Obama's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, known as DACA, as the internal debate plays out.

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Demonstrators yell slogans during second day of anti-Donald Trump immigration ban protests inside Terminal 4 at San Francisco International Airport in San Francisco, California, U.S., January 29, 2017. REUTERS/Kate Munsch
Demonstrators hold welcome signs for immigrants during second day of anti-Donald Trump immigration ban protests inside Terminal 4 at San Francisco International Airport in San Francisco, California, U.S., January 29, 2017. REUTERS/Kate Munsch
Running for U.S. Senate in California congresswoman Loretta Sanchez holds a news conference on comprehensive immigration reform in San Diego, California, U.S., November 3, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Valente Martinez, 22, marches with Mexican and U.S. flags under an inflatable effigy of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump during an immigrant rights May Day rally in Los Angeles, California, U.S., May 1, 2016. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
MURRIETA, CA - JULY 7: Anti-immigration activists protest outside of the U.S. Border Patrol Murrieta Station on July 7, 2014 in Murrieta, California. Immigration protesters have staged rallies in front of the station for about a week in response to a wave of undocumented immigrant children caught along the U.S.-Mexico border in Texas and transported to the Murrieta facility while awaiting deportation proceedings. (Photo by Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images)
MURRIETA, CA - JULY 7: Anti-immigration activist Sabina Durden (R) and immigration sympathizer Mary Estrada (L) debate during a protest outside of the U.S. Border Patrol Murrieta Station on July 7, 2014 in Murrieta, California. Immigration protesters have staged rallies in front of the station for about a week in response to a wave of undocumented immigrant children caught along the U.S.-Mexico border in Texas and transported to the Murrieta facility while awaiting deportation proceedings. (Photo by Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images)
Irma Castillo, outreach coordinator with United Farm Workers Foundation, left, gives Erica Montoya, 32, right, paperwork during an immigration workshop in Hanford, California, U.S., on Thursday, March 19, 2015. President Barack Obama announced Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program in November as a response to Congress' unwillingness to update a policy that both parties agree is flawed. Recipients would enter the formal economy with work permits and Social Security numbers, creating a legal workforce for businesses, greater security for themselves and revenue for government coffers. Photographer: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Juan Barbosa, 23, of Bakersfield, looks at a confirmation of petition acceptance for his application to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services for a Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) employment authorization renewal at the United Farm Workers Foundation offices in Bakersfield, California, U.S., on Thursday, March 19, 2015. President Barack Obama announced his DACA program in November as a response to Congress' unwillingness to update a policy that both parties agree is flawed. Recipients would enter the formal economy with work permits and Social Security numbers, creating a legal workforce for businesses, greater security for themselves and revenue for government coffers. Photographer: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg via Getty Images
EL MONTE, CALIFORNIA , DECEMBER 10, 2014: Letisia Huertado (left) helps Destiny Valle (middle) and Ashley Vargas (right) construct sentences in their first grade class at Parkview School, on December 10, 2014 in El Monte. State education officials are preparing to issue the first report documenting the number of students who have continued to struggle with substandard English for more than 7 years, even though most of them were born in the United States. But some schools have developed effective programs to prevent young children born to immigrant families from becoming so-called long-term English learners. (Photo by Gary Friedman/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA OCTOBER 3, 2014 -- Josephine Lopez, 84, from Perris Ca, joins immigrant-rights supporters celebrating the passage of AB 60, which will allow undocumented immigrants to apply for driver's licenses starting in January 2015 on Friday October 3, 2014. (Photo by Al Seib/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
GRANADA HILLS, CA - JANUARY 2, 2015: Immigrants without legal status line up to apply for California driver licenses at DMV offices January 2, 2015 in Granada Hills. (Photo by Brian van der Brug/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
GRANADA HILLS, CA - JANUARY 2, 2015: Immigrants without legal status line up to apply for California driver licenses at DMV offices January 2, 2015 in Granada Hills. (Photo by Brian van der Brug/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
Children of poor migrant families receive backpacks filled with school supplies before the start of the new school year during a charity event at the Los Angeles Mission's 'skid row' headquarters on August 9, 2014. US conservatives recently commented on the 50th anniversary of President Lyndon Johnson's 'war on poverty' to dispute the effectiveness of existing policies, and urge a welfare state overhaul. Five decades and trillions of dollars after President Johnson waged his war on poverty they said a staggering 49 million Americans are still living below the poverty line AFP PHOTO/Mark RALSTON (Photo credit should read MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)
MURRIETA, CA - JULY 7: Immigrant rights activist Mary Estrada (R) speaks with anti-immigration activists during a protest outside of the U.S. Border Patrol Murrieta Station on July 7, 2014 in Murrieta, California. Immigration protesters have staged rallies in front of the station for about a week in response to a wave of undocumented immigrant children caught along the U.S.-Mexico border in Texas and transported to the Murrieta facility while awaiting deportation proceedings. (Photo by Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA OCTOBER 3, 2014 -- Axel Paredes, 40, an immigrant (undocumented) worker who has been in the US for 10 years celebrates with supporters the passage of AB 60, which will allow undocumented immigrants to apply for driver's licenses starting in January 2015 outside city hall Friday, October 3, 2014.. (Photo by Al Seib/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
Children hold banners and placards while listening to speakers at a rally outside the 9th Circuit federal court in Pasadena, California on July 16, 2015, where Immigrant rights organizations, labor, and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients from Arizona and Los Angeles gathered. After a multiple-year legal battle, the state of Arizona's embattled efforts to deny driver's licenses to immigrants who have been granted DACA under a federal program will face what could be yet another blow to Arizona when the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit hears oral arguments this Thursday in a lawsuit brought by civil rights groups challenging the discriminatory policy. AFP PHOTO/ FREDERIC J. BROWN (Photo credit should read FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA FEB. 17, 2015: Immigration reform supporters listen to speakers talk about expanded federal immigration programs that will allow millions of immigrants to stay in the country and receive work permits for three years at Los Angeles City Hall Monday, Feb. 17, 2015. Los Angeles City Councilman Gil Cedillo joined Rep. Judy Chu and others to talk about expanded federal immigration programs that will allow millions of immigrants to stay in the country and receive work permits for three years. One of the programs, which applies to people who arrived in the country as children under the age of 16, will be expanded on Wednesday. (Photo by Allen J. Schaben/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
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Preserving DACA has also become somewhat of a bartering chip as Trump seeks congressional support for a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border and other early administration priorities.

The White House is "acutely aware" of the firestorm in the country and within Congress that could swamp the fledgling administration just as it plunges into negotiations over the wall, healthcare, tax reform and infrastructure investments, said the senior House Republican aide.

Another congressional aide described a Senate bill sponsored by Democrat Dick Durbin and Republican Lindsey Graham to protect the "dreamers" as the "sugar that would help the medicine of the wall go down."

The bill would likely face challenges winning enough votes to pass. Efforts to attach some tough conservative amendments could lose Democratic Party support and sink the whole effort.

Trump has kept his public comments on DACA vague.

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U.S. President Donald Trump speaks briefly to reporters as he arrives aboard Air Force One at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, U.S. January 26, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President Donald Trump (C), flanked by Vice President Mike Pence (L) and Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly (R), takes the stage to deliver remarks at Homeland Security headquarters in Washington, U.S. January 25, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President Donald Trump walks through the Colonnade to the Oval Office after returning to the White House in Washington, U.S., January 26, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
The Marine One helicopter transporting U.S. President Donald Trump is seen as it departs from the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, U.S., for a trip to Philadelphia, January 26, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
U.S. President Donald Trump arrives to board Air Force One for travel to Philadelphia from Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, U.S. January 26, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President Donald Trump arrives aboard Air Force One at Philadelphia International Airport in Philadelphia, U.S. January 26, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President Donald Trump arrives aboard Air Force One at Philadelphia International Airport in Philadelphia, U.S. January 26, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
An attendee uses her iPhone to record U.S. President Donald J. Trump speaking during the 2017 "Congress of Tomorrow" Joint Republican Issues Conference in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S. January 26, 2017. REUTERS/Mark Makela
U.S. President Donald Trump signs autographs for onlookers as he arrives aboard Air Force One at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, U.S. January 26, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President Donald Trump (R) and Vice President Mike Pence return to the White House after a visit to Homeland Security headquarters in Washington, U.S., January 25, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President Donald Trump signs the executive order for the reinstatement of the Mexico City Policy in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington January 23, 2017. With Trump (L-R) are Vice President Mike Pence, White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and head of the White House Trade Council Peter Navarro. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
White House Senior Advisor Kellyanne Conway (2nd R) embraces Communications Director Sean Spicer as he joins a roundtable discussion between U.S. President Donald Trump and labor leaders, after Spicer's first press briefing at the White House in Washington, U.S. January 23, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
U.S. President Donald Trump delivers remarks during a visit to the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in Langley, Virginia U.S. January 21, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
U.S. President Donald Trump sings while accompanied by his wife Melania, Vice President Mike Pence and his wife Karen (R) during a prayer service at Washington National Cathedral the morning after his inauguration, in Washington, U.S., January 21, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
US President Donald Trump is joined by the Congressional leadership and his family, rear, wife Melania Trump, son Barron Trump, as he formally signs his cabinet nominations into law, at the Capitol in Washington, January 20, 2017. REUTERS/J. Scott Applewhite/Pool TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
U.S. President Donald Trump walks with wife Melania and son Barron during the Inaugural Parade in Washington, January 20, 2017. Donald Trump was sworn in earlier as the 45th President of the United States. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
U.S. President-elect Donald Trump arrives at inauguration ceremonies swearing him in as president on the West front of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., January 20, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
The White House is seen the day after U.S. President Donald Trump's inauguration in Washington, U.S., January 21, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
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In an interview with ABC News on Wednesday, Trump said his administration would be coming out with a policy to deal with "dreamers" over the next four weeks.

"They shouldn't be very worried. They are here illegally. They shouldn't be very worried. I do have a big heart. We're going to take care of everybody. We're going to have a very strong border," Trump said in the interview with ABC.

Trump reportedly told Durbin during the inaugural luncheon at the Capitol on Jan. 20 that he did not have to worry about an executive action overturning Obama's order.

But there is scant trust among Democrats that Trump will keep his word. And immigration advocates said DACA recipients live in fear and uncertainty as the message from the White House and Republicans seems to shift by the day.

House Speaker Paul Ryan told a woman protected by DACA, at a townhall hosted by CNN Jan. 12, that there should be a solution for people like her to get "right with the law" and not be separated from their families.

Just two days prior, Sessions, a Senator, told a Senate panel considering his confirmation that it would "certainly be constitutional" to repeal DACA.

Sessions also attempted to force a vote to block DACA in the Senate in 2014.

Miller, Sessions' former staffer, is now Trump's senior adviser for policy at the White House. Miller is known to be a staunch advocate for restricting immigration, even by workers who enter legally on visas.

Both Miller and Bannon, Trump's senior counselor and chief strategist, are seen as outsiders to the Republican establishment and unafraid to upset people like Ryan to stay true to Trump campaign promises.

Priebus, however, came to the White House after chairing the Republican National Committee and has spent years seeking to unify the party and cultivating relationships with career politicians.

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