Update: Attorney General Jeff Sessions announces DACA program is being rescinded... "the previous adminstration disrespected the legal process"
BREAKING: Attorney General Jeff Sessions announces DACA program is being rescinded https://t.co/Ju9kxsuXZm— NBC News (@NBCNews) September 5, 2017
Sessions' full statement:
Good morning. I am here today to announce that the program known as DACA that was effectuated under the Obama Administration is being rescinded.
The DACA program was implemented in 2012 and essentially provided a legal status for recipients for a renewable two-year term, work authorization and other benefits, including participation in the social security program, to 800,000 mostly-adult illegal aliens.
This policy was implemented unilaterally to great controversy and legal concern after Congress rejected legislative proposals to extend similar benefits on numerous occasions to this same group of illegal aliens.
In other words, 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.
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. It also denied jobs to hundreds of thousands of Americans by allowing those same jobs to go to illegal aliens.
We inherited from our Founders—and have advanced—an unsurpassed legal heritage, which is the foundation of our freedom, safety, and prosperity.
As the Attorney General, it is my duty to ensure that the laws of the United States are enforced and that the Constitutional order is upheld.
No greater good can be done for the overall health and well-being of our Republic, than preserving and strengthening the impartial rule of law. Societies where the rule of law is treasured are societies that tend to flourish and succeed.
Societies where the rule of law is subject to political whims and personal biases tend to become societies afflicted by corruption, poverty, and human suffering.
To have a lawful system of immigration that serves the national interest, we cannot admit everyone who would like to come here. That is an open border policy and the American people have rightly rejected it.
Therefore, the nation must set and enforce a limit on how many immigrants we admit each year and that means all can not be accepted.
This does not mean they are bad people or that our nation disrespects or demeans them in any way. It means we are properly enforcing our laws as Congress has passed them.
It is with these principles and duties in mind, and in light of imminent litigation, that we reviewed the Obama Administration’s DACA policy.
Our collective wisdom is that the policy is vulnerable to the same legal and constitutional challenges that the courts recognized with respect to the DAPA program, which was enjoined on a nationwide basis in a decision affirmed by the Fifth Circuit.
The Fifth Circuit specifically concluded that DACA had not been implemented in a fashion that allowed sufficient discretion, and that DAPA was “foreclosed by Congress’s careful plan.”
In other words, it was inconsistent with the Constitution’s separation of powers. That decision was affirmed by the Supreme Court by an equally divided vote.
If we were to keep the Obama Administration’s executive amnesty policy, the likeliest outcome is that it would be enjoined just as was DAPA. The Department of Justice has advised the President and the Department of Homeland Security that DHS should begin an orderly, lawful wind down, including the cancellation of the memo that authorized this program.
Acting Secretary Duke has chosen, appropriately, to initiate a wind down process. This will enable DHS to conduct an orderly change and fulfill the desire of this administration to create a time period for Congress to act—should it so choose. We firmly believe this is the responsible path.
Simply put, if we are to further our goal of strengthening the constitutional order and the rule of law in America, the Department of Justice cannot defend this type of overreach.
George Washington University Law School Professor Jonathan Turley in testimony before the House Judiciary Committee was clear about the enormous constitutional infirmities raised by these policies.
He said: “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.”
Ending the previous Administration’s disrespect for the legislative process is an important first step. All immigration policies should serve the interests of the people of the United States—lawful immigrant and native born alike.
Congress should carefully and thoughtfully pursue the types of reforms that are right for the American people. Our nation is comprised of good and decent people who want their government’s leaders to fulfill their promises and advance an immigration policy that serves the national interest.
We are a people of compassion and we are a people of law. 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.
The compassionate thing is to end the lawlessness, enforce our laws, and, if Congress chooses to make changes to those laws, to do so through the process set forth by our Founders in a way that advances the interest of the nation.
That is what the President has promised to do and has delivered to the American people.
Under President Trump’s leadership, 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 assimilate them to the cultural understandings that support it.
The substantial progress in reducing illegal immigration at our border seen in recent months is almost entirely the product of the leadership of President Trump and his inspired federal immigration officers. But the problem is not solved. And without more action, we could see illegality rise again rather than be eliminated.
As a candidate, and now in office, President Trump has offered specific ideas and legislative solutions that will protect American workers, increase wages and salaries, defend our national security, ensure the public safety, and increase the general well-being of the American people.
He has worked closely with many members of Congress, including in the introduction of the RAISE Act, which would produce enormous benefits for our country. This is how our democratic process works.
There are many powerful interest groups in this country and every one of them has a constitutional right to advocate their views and represent whomever they choose.
But the Department of Justice does not represent any narrow interest or any subset of the American people. We represent all of the American people and protect the integrity of our Constitution. That is our charge.
We at Department of Justice are proud and honored to work to advance this vision for America and to do our best each day to ensure the safety and security of the American people.
Responses have already started. Some supportive of the decision:
- *RYAN SAYS OBAMA DREAMER PROGRAM WAS `CLEAR ABUSE' OF AUTHORITY
- *RYAN SAYS HOPES TO FIND `PERMANENT' SOLUTION FOR DREAMERS
Others not so much...
It would appear Mark Zuckerberg will be running in 2020...
This is a sad day for our country. The decision to end DACA is not just wrong. It is particularly cruel to offer young people the American Dream, encourage them to come out of the shadows and trust our government, and then punish them for it.
The young people covered by DACA are our friends and neighbors. They contribute to our communities and to the economy. I've gotten to know some Dreamers over the past few years, and I've always been impressed by their strength and sense of purpose. They don't deserve to live in fear.
DACA protects 800,000 Dreamers -- young people brought to this country by their parents. Six months from today, new DACA recipients will start to lose their ability to work legally and will risk immediate deportation every day.
It's time for Congress to act to pass the bipartisan Dream Act or another legislative solution that gives Dreamers a pathway to citizenship. For years, leaders from both parties have been talking about protecting Dreamers. Now it's time to back those words up with action. Show us that you can lead. No bill is perfect, but inaction now is unacceptable.
Our team at FWD.us has been working alongside Dreamers in this fight, and we'll be doing even more in the weeks ahead to make sure Dreamers have the protections they deserve.
If you live in the US, call your members of Congress and tell them to do the right thing. We have always been a nation of immigrants, and immigrants have always made our nation stronger. You can learn more and get connected at Dreamers.FWD.us.
AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka made the following statement on today’s announcement that the Trump administration will terminate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program:
President Donald Trump’s move to terminate DACA and strip work authorization away from 800,000 productive members of our society is cruel and wrong.
Ending DACA will increase the pool of vulnerable workers in our country and embolden employers to retaliate against working men and women who dare to organize on the job or speak out against abusive working conditions. This indefensible act will make our workplaces less fair and less safe and will undermine our freedom to join together and fight to raise wages and standards.
This direct attack on union members and union values only strengthens our resolve to overcome racial divisions and demand changes to a system rigged to benefit the wealthiest and corporations. The eyes of history are upon us. The labor movement will stand with these brave young workers and fight for legislation so that the contributions they make are celebrated, rather than assaulted. We will push for a pathway to citizenship and continue to oppose enforcement policies that discriminate and generate fear in our workplaces and communities.
We will not give up the struggle until all working people have rights on the job, regardless of where they were born.
* * *
As we detailed earlier, with the fate of reportedly 100s of 1000s of DREAMers lieing in the balance, Attorney General Jeff Sessions is set to hold a briefing related to Deferreed Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program this morning.
According to Axios, Sessions will announce the Trump administration is ending DACA, the Obama-era program to shield some illegal immigrants, who arrived in the U.S. as children, from deportation. In an accompanying press release, the Department of Homeland Security's Acting Secretary, Elaine Duke, will say that no people currently on DACA "will be impacted before March 5, 2018, nearly six months from now, so Congress can have time to deliver on appropriate legislative solutions." "However," says Duke, "I want to be clear that no new initial requests or associated applications filed after today will be acted on."
Sessions will not be taking questions following the briefing, so we will just have to wait for a tweet from the president for any color.
Of course, all eyes wil be on President Obama's Facebook page as he is expected to be 'triggered' by what is likely to be the end of the Obama-era program that grants work permits to illegal immigrants who arrived in this country illegally with their lawbreaking parents or guardians.
Obama’s current plan is to post a statement on Facebook and link to it on Twitter, where the former president has more than 94 million followers. In his final presidential press availability, he suggested that he would speak out if Trump went after the Dreamers — and that it was one of the few issues where he would feel morally compelled to do so. He said he would not remain silent in the face of “efforts to round up kids who have grown up here and for all practical purposes are American kids, and send them someplace else, when they love this country.”
President Trump campaigned on ending DACA so his base is counting on him keeping this campaign promise.
Axios obtained the DHS press release and revealed its details as per below:
- According to the DHS release, "yesterday, Attorney General Sessions sent a letter to Acting Secretary Duke articulating his legal determination that DACA 'was 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.'
- "The letter further stated that because DACA '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.'
- "Nevertheless, in light of the administrative complexities associated with ending the program, he recommended that the Department wind down the program in an efficient and orderly fashion, and his office has reviewed the terms on which the Department will do so.
- "Based on guidance from Attorney General Sessions, and the likely result of potentially imminent litigation, Acting Secretary Elaine Duke today issued a memo formally rescinding the June 15, 2012 memorandum that created DACA, and initiating an orderly wind down of the program."
Live Feed (due to start at 11amET)...