INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb ducked questions on Wednesday about whether he supports President Donald Trump’s decision to phase out a program protecting immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as children.
The Republican governor was specifically asked for his thoughts. But he declined to directly respond about Trump’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which shields from deportation hundreds of thousands of young immigrants.
Holcomb instead said that he was “hopeful” Congress can “come to a resolution that balances compassion and common sense.” He did not say what he thinks that should entail.
“I support Congress resolving this. It is their job. And that’s constitutionally where it will be resolved,” Holcomb said. “… I admire folks that get up and go to work and serve in our military each and every day. And that includes these very folks.”
Advocates say roughly 9,000 immigrants in Indiana could be affected by the decision, which would require congressional action to prevent a large number of deportations unless Trump rethinks his decision.
Trump announced on Tuesday his plans to dismantle the system in six months, but didn’t specify what he wanted done, leaving the matter up to his fellow Republicans in Congress who have no consensus on an approach.
“Congress now has 6 months to legalize DACA (something the Obama Administration was unable to do). If they can’t, I will revisit this issue!” Trump later tweeted Tuesday night.
Holcomb’s response was more restrained than other Indiana officials. That includes Rep. Susan Brooks, who vied to get the GOP nod to run for governor in 2016 after Gov. Mike Pence left the ballot to become Trump’s vice presidential nominee. Holcomb, who was Pence’s preferred successor, was ultimately given the spot by the state Republican Party.
Brooks said in a statement that she wants to “provide these kids who are woven into our communities” with “the reassurance that they will be able to continue living their lives as they always have.”
Democratic Sen. Joe Donnelly previously said deporting those who were in the program would be “unjust” and “downright cruel.”
Indiana University President Michael McRobbie said the school was “deeply disappointed” and sought to “assure all DACA students that we remain fully committed to ensuring a welcoming, safe and civil community for all IU students.”
Meanwhile, diesel engine maker Cummins, one of the most prominent Indiana companies, called the move one that is “discriminatory, harmful and sets our country back.”