Immigrants in US
A girl attends a vigil in response to President Donald Trump's executive orders relating to immigration, in Los Angeles, Jan. 25, 2017. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

According to the data released by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, over 17,000 new applicants for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) were approved by President Donald Trump’s administration in the first three months this year, the Washington Post reported Monday.

DACA is a program introduced during former President Barack Obama’s administration to help undocumented immigrants who arrived in the U.S. as children, often called "dreamers." However, during his campaigning days, Trump had promised to end the program, calling it “unconstitutional executive amnesty.”

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According to the latest data, it was not just tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants that were granted work permits. An additional 107,000 immigrants, who are already enrolled in the DACA program, had their two-year work permits renewed between January and March.

“While we still welcome legal immigrants to tune of 1 million a year, we are no longer a friendly environment for illegal border-crossers,” Homeland Security Secretary John F. Kelly said during a Cabinet meeting with Trump at the White House on Monday.

The Post quoted Dale Jackson, a conservative radio host, saying: “Unlike some of Trump’s other promises, such as repealing the Affordable Care Act or building a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border wall, the president could halt the issuance of work permits through executive decree without congressional approval.”

“This is completely within his singular power to do by himself,” he said. “There’s no rationalization I can come up with. The guy said one thing during the campaign and he’s outright not doing it.”

The DACA program, which Obama introduced through executive action in June 2012, is widely used by the Latino and Asian communities and has now become a political challenge for Trump. The latest figures about the program come despite concerns from some immigrant advocates that the administration would start targeting work permit-holders for deportations.

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Ever since the program was introduced, more than 750,000 immigrants have participated in it, and according to various reports, Obama also emphasized the program’s value to Trump in a meeting at the White House after the election. Obama told reporters he would speak out if the new administration attempted to deport dreamers.

In April, Trump told the Associated Press that dreamers should “rest easy” and not fear deportation. But his failure to follow through on a key campaign pledge to voters has angered immigration hawks.

It should also be mentioned that Trump has publicized success in his efforts to get tougher on undocumented immigrants, including a significant drop in the number of people trying to enter the United States illegally from Mexico. It is also known that Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents have ramped up arrests of illegal immigrants, under new guidelines from the administration that broaden the pool of people identified as priority for removal.