President Donald Trump's upcoming executive order on immigration won't include amnesty for illegal immigrants, the White House said.
“As the President announced today, he is working on an executive order to establish a merit-based immigration system to further protect U.S. workers," White House spokesman Judd Deere said in a statement.
"Furthermore, the President has long said he is willing to work with Congress on a negotiated legislative solution to DACA, one that could include citizenship, along with strong border security and permanent merit-based reforms. This does not include amnesty. Unfortunately, Democrats have continually refused these offers as they are opposed to anything other than totally open borders.”
DACA refers to Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, a program established through an executive order from then-President Barack Obama that protects people who arrived in the United State as children from deportation.
Amnesty would give the migrants a permanent legal basis to stay in the United States.
Trump, a Republican, said in an interview with Telemundo earlier Friday: "I'm going to do a big executive order. I have the power to do it as president and I'm going to make DACA a part of it."
The anchor asked Trump whether a provision for the program would be included in the order. Trump said that was correct, but then said it would not give the migrants in question an immediate legal basis to stay in the United States.
"We're going to have a road to citizenship," he said.
Proposals for paths to citizenship from immigration groups include service in the military.
A recent Supreme Court decision gave the president the power to do the order, Trump said.
Some 700,000 migrants are currently shielded from deportation after enrolling in DACA.
The program provides permits to work but does not give migrants a path to citizenship.
It wasn't clear when the executive order would be issued.
Former Vice President Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, said he would make DACA permanent if he was elected president.
Trump is considering a number of executive orders, Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said last week.
“We’re also going to look at a number of issues as it relates to immigration. We’re going to look at a number of issues as it relates to prescription drug prices. And we’re going to get them done when Congress couldn’t get them done," he said.
“This president will do more in the next four weeks than Joe Biden and his team did in the last 40 years.”