Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the Trump administration's intentions to officially rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, effectively ending the 2012 program that has deferred deportations for those who came to the United States as young immigrants.
Sessions called the current program an "unconstitutional" overreach of executive authority that caused great legal concern after Congress initially rejected the legislative proposals to extend similar benefits to illegal immigrants.
"The executive branch, through DACA, deliberately sought to achieve what the legislative branch specifically refused to authorize on multiple occasions. Such an open-ended circumvention of immigration laws was an unconstitutional exercise of authority by the executive branch," Sessions said of the Obama-era order.
Sessions said the move was inconsistent with the Constitution's separation of powers, and advised the Department of Homeland Security to begin an "orderly, lawful wind-down" of the program. Acting DHS Secretary Elaine Duke then rescinded the 2012 memo from Janet Napolitano that originally permitted and established DACA.
Previously, under the 2012 law, individuals who demonstrated that they met the following criteria were eligible for an exercise of discretion, specifically deferred action, on a case-by-case basis:
- Came to the United States before the age of sixteen;
- Have continuously resided in the United States for a least five years preceding the date of the memorandum and are present in the United States on the date of this memorandum;
- Are currently in school, have graduated from high school, have obtained a general education development certificate, or are honorably discharged veterans of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States;
- Have not been convicted of a felony offense, a significant misdemeanor offense, multiple misdemeanor offenses, or otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety;
- Not above the age of thirty.
Sessions: "DOJ can not defend this overreach"
"We are people of compassion and of law," says Sessions.
Sessions touts the Trump administration's work on border control and immigration, saying "this admin has made great progress in the last few months in establishing a lawful and constitutional immigration system," adding, "this makes us safer and more secure."
The attorney general lauds Mr. Trump as saying immigration successes were "almost entirely due to leadership of President Trump and immigration officers."
DHS to begin "wind down process" of DACA
"If we were to keep Obama administration policy, the likeliest outcome it would too be enjoined just as was DACA," said Sessions.
Sessions explains that the Department of Homeland Security would begin an "orderly lawful wind down" and cancellation of the Obama-era memo that enacted DACA.
A 6 month delay process would give congress time to pass their own legislation on the immigration law.
Sessions: "We just can't admit everyone who wants to be here"
The nation must set and enforce a limit on how many immigrants we admit each year. This does not mean they're bad people or our nation disrespects or demeans them in any way, we are properly enforcing our laws as Congress has passed them," said Sessions.
Sessions says DCA law "unconstitutional"
Sessions said the "open-ended immigration law" that was an "overreach of the executive branch" contributed to a surge of minors at southern border that yielded terrible humanitarian situations