Trump Ends DACA Program, No New Applications Accepted
by Adam Edelman, NBC News, 9-5-17
President Donald Trump’s Justice Department announced Tuesday it would wind down DACA, putting in place a phased termination plan that would give Congress a six-month window to pass legislation that could eventually save the Obama-era program that allowed undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as children to remain in the country.
Under the plan announced by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the Trump administration will stop considering new applications for legal status dated after Tuesday, but will allow any DACA recipients with a permit set to expire before March 5, 2018, the opportunity to apply for a two-year renewal.
Sessions repeatedly referred to DACA as "unconstitutional" and said "the policy is vulnerable to...legal and constitutional challenges."
"It is my duty to ensure that the laws of the United States are enforced and that the constitutional order is upheld," Sessions said in explaining his rationale. "Such an open-ended circumvention of immigration laws was an unconstitutional executive overreach of authority by the executive branch."
The decision could affect as many as 800,000 Dreamers who have signed up for the program, known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, since its 2012 inception. Immigrant rights advocates have said 200,000 more have sought DACA status since Trump became president.
Trump’s decision signals he’s moving full-steam ahead with his hardline immigration campaign promises — despite multiple walk-backs from him on the issue of DACA — and came on the same day that Republican officials from 10 states had set as a deadline for the administration to end the program.
Those officials had said they would sue the administration over DACA if Trump hadn’t ended it by Sept. 5. Led by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, the group said the government should stop accepting DACA renewal applications, allowing those now in effect to continue until their two-year period expires.
Signaling quick action, the Department of Homeland Security said Tuesday that it had already begun moving ahead with an "orderly wind down of the program," issuing a memo formally rescinding the Obama memo that had created.
"The Department of Justice has carefully evaluated the program’s Constitutionality and determined it conflicts with our existing immigration laws," Acting DHS Secretary Elaine Duke said.
Duke said that the option chosen by Sessions would "limit disruption to current DACA beneficiaries while providing time for Congress to seek a legislative solution."
Trump, for his part, appeared to pressure Congress to do just that in an early-morning Tweet Tuesday.
"Congress, get ready to do your job - DACA!" he posted ahead of Sessions’ announcement, as lawmakers were returning after their August break.