US Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that the Department of Homeland Security administration will stop processing any new applications for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) program, which was instituted by the Obama administration. “I am here today to announce that the program known as DACA that was effectuated under the Obama administration is being rescinded,” Sessions said Tuesday at a Justice Department news conference.
Sessions, a former federal prosecutor and US Senator, severely criticized former president Obama who implemented DACA by executive order in 2012 to give work authorization and government benefits, such as Social Security to approximately 800,000 million illegal aliens who entered the United States as minors. DACA offered effective immunity from the law for illegal aliens who arrived under age 17 before 2007. Their average age is 25 years.
Sessions letter on DACA pic.twitter.com/pWCQKEwIOH— Ryan J. Reilly (@ryanjreilly) September 5, 2017
Sessions had made the rule of law and resistance to amnesty for illegal immigrants into hallmarks of his career thus took the lead in announcing the fulfillment of one of President Trump’s most prominent campaign promises. “I’m here today to announce that the program known as DACA that was effectuated by the Obama administration is being rescinded,” Sessions said. Later calling for an “orderly and lawful wind-down.” The president will have the final say.
In his announcement, the affable Sessions quoted testimony provided by George Washington University Law School Professor Jonathan Turley before the House Judiciary Committee about DACA:
“‘In ordering this blanket exception, President Obama was nullifying part of a law that he simply disagreed with … If a president can claim sweeping discretion to suspend key federal laws, the entire legislative process becomes little more than a pretense … The circumvention of the legislative process not only undermines the authority of this branch but destabilizes the tripartite system as a whole.’”
DACA will be terminated by Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Elaine Duke, effective immediately. Even though more than 800,000 current beneficiaries of Obama’s program will not lose their protected status for six months, no new applications for DACA status will be taken after Tuesday. In addition, DACA beneficiaries who have already applied for their two-year renewals will have those requests processed. Those whose status expires in the sixth month grace period will still be able to apply for their two-year renewals until October 5, 2017. Illegal aliens whose DACA protection is pending and who leave the country at any time will lose any possibility of receiving that protection.
Sessions said in his announcement:
“This unilateral executive amnesty, among other things, contributed to a surge of minors at the southern border that yielded terrible humanitarian consequences and it denied jobs to hundreds of thousands of Americans by allowing those same illegal aliens to take those jobs.”
Sessions had sent a letter on Monday to DHS concerning DACA:
“[W]as effectuated by the previous administration through executive action, without proper statutory authority and with no established end-date, after Congress’ repeated rejection of proposed legislation that would have accomplished a similar result. Such an open-ended circumvention of immigration laws was an unconstitutional exercise of authority by the Executive Branch.”
Sessions said that DACA had effectively caused a humanitarian crisis on the southern border of the United States when thousands of young migrants thronged in northern Mexico and managed to enter the United States illegally.
"Ending the previous administration’s disrespect for the legislative process is an important first step. All immigration policies should serve the interest of the people of the United States, lawful immigrant and native born alike… We are people of compassion and we are people of law. There is nothing compassionate about the failure to enforce immigration law. Enforcing the law saves lives, protects communities and tax payers, and prevents human suffering."
Sessions also assessed in that letter the prospects that a constitutional challenge threatened by ten state attorneys general. A lawsuit by those states had already overturned the companion Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) program. DACA, Sessions wrote, “has the same legal and constitutional defects that the courts recognized as to DAPA, it is likely that potentially imminent litigation would yield similar results with respect to DACA.”
In his remarks, Sessions gave his assessment of the Trump administration’s progress on illegal migration so far, saying:
“This administration has made great progress in the last few months toward establishing a lawful and constitutional immigration system. This makes us safer and more secure. It will further economically the lives of millions who are struggling and it will enable our country to more effectively teach new immigrants about our system of government and to assimilate them to the cultural understandings that support it. The progress in reducing illegal immigration at our border seen in recent months is almost entirely due to the leadership of President Trump and his inspired immigration officers. But the problem is not yet solved. And without more action, we could see illegality rise again rather than be eliminated.”
In addition, Trump tweeted on Tuesday morning to Congress: “get ready to do your job.”