Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced Tuesday that the Trump administration will officially put an end to the Obama-era amnesty directive known as DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), blasting the program as inherently unlawful and kicking the ball to Congress regarding so-called “dreamers.”
“I’m here today to announce that the program known as DACA that was effectuated by the Obama administration is being rescinded,” he said, calling for an “orderly and lawful wind-down” of the controversial program.
In his remarks, which Sessions delivered before a group of reporters, the attorney general explained why DACA represented an overreach on the part of President Barack Obama.
“[T]he 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,” he explained.
“The effect of this unilateral executive amnesty, among other things, contributed to a surge of unaccompanied minors on the southern border that yielded terrible humanitarian consequences,” Sessions added. “It also denied jobs to hundreds of thousands of Americans by allowing those same jobs to go to illegal aliens.”
Under DACA, roughly 800,000 illegal aliens – most of whom are currently adults – were given “legal status for recipients for a renewable two-year term, work authorization and other benefits, including participation in the social security program,” Sessions explained.
As of Tuesday, the Trump administration’s new policy will stop considering new DACA-related applications dated after September 5; provide a 6-month window to determine the renewal process for DACA recipients; and give current enrollees until October 5 to apply for renewal if their permits expire before March 5, 2018.
“We are a people of compassion and we are a people of law,” Sessions said. “But there is nothing compassionate about the failure to enforce immigration laws. Enforcing the law saves lives, protects communities and taxpayers, and prevents human suffering. Failure to enforce the laws in the past has put our nation at risk of crime, violence and even terrorism.”
Sessions also heaped praise upon the president for making “great progress in the last few months toward establishing a lawful and constitutional immigration system” that “makes us safer and more secure.”
Trump prefaced Sessions’ remarks early Tuesday morning with a tweet suggesting that Congress would be tasked with ironing out the details of the new policy.
Congress, get ready to do your job – DACA!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 5, 2017