Speaking on behalf of President Trump, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced Tuesday that the administration is ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program aimed at assisting undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children through no fault of their own.
The president’s rescission of the DACA program — initiated by former President Obama by executive order when Congress failed to pass immigration reform — has a built-in six-month delay to give lawmakers a chance to pass legislation that would protect the so-called “Dreamers” from deportation.
Sessions said Obama’s executive order unconstitutionally bypassed Congress, thereby “violating the core tenets that sustain our Republic.” The attorney general did not take questions from the press, so could not have answered how Obama’s executive order differed from the many — including the ban on Muslims — issued by Trump during his time in office.
A senior White House official said recipients of DACA whose work permits expire by March 5 will be allowed to apply for a two-year renewal, according to a report by Politico.
In his statement, Sessions claimed that the implementation of DACA helped trigger “a massive surge of unaccompanied minors from Central America including, in some cases, young people who would become members of violent gangs throughout our country, such as MS-13.”
Sessions also implied that DACA resulted in lower wages and higher employment rates for American workers.
“Before we ask what is fair to illegal immigrants, we must also ask what is fair to American families, students, taxpayers, and jobseekers,” Sessions said.
Nine conservative state attorneys general, led by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, had threatened to file suit if Trump did not end DACA by Tuesday. It is unclear if the legal challenge will go forward.