weather icon Clear

Trump administration rescinds DACA, gives Congress 6 months to act

Updated September 5, 2017 - 8:28 am

WASHINGTON — Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced Tuesday that the Trump administration was rescinding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival program, or DACA, authorized in 2012 by an executive order by former President Barack Obama.

Sessions said that acting Secretary of Homeland Security Elaine Duke would conduct an “orderly wind-down” of the program, which has provided temporary legal status for as many as 800,000 “mostly adult illegal aliens.” Administration officials said that no current participants in the program, all of whom were brought to the U.S. as children, would be affected before March 5.

Sessions stated his belief that a lawsuit threatened by attorneys general from 10 states over the program was likely to prevail because the executive branch of the federal government under Obama “deliberately sought to achieve what the legislative branch specifically refused to authorize on multiple occasions.”

President Donald Trump had vacillated on his promise to end DACA on day one of his presidency — leading some DACA supporters to hope the policy would remain on the books. Trump tweeted later Tuesday that Congress had six months to legalize the program, and if lawmakers are unsuccessful, the president “will revisit this issue!”

Threat by state attorneys general

But DACA opponents were outraged at Trump’s failure to act. In June, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, leader of a group that successfully blocked an Obama administration 2014 order to expand the protection to DACA participants’ family members, warned Sessions that he and other attorneys general would sue if the administration did not rescind DACA by Sept. 5.

The gambit worked. In a written statement, Trump explained, “I do not favor punishing children, most of whom are now adults, for the actions of their parents. But we must also recognize that we are nation of opportunity because we are a nation of laws.”

Trump stated that it is not his job to write laws as he tossed the hot potato back to Congress, which has voted on but never passed various versions of the DREAM Act, which would establish a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as children.

Earlier in the day, Trump had tweeted, “Congress, get ready to do your job – DACA!”

A Department of Justice press packet included testimony from George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley, an Obama voter who agreed with many of the goals of the 2012 executive order creating DACA. But he found the order itself violated constitutional principles, testifying that Obama “has crossed the constitutional law between discretionary enforcement and defiance of federal law.”

Details of the ‘wind-down’

While Sessions did not get into specifics, the Trump statement explained how the wind-down will work. The government will not accept new applications, but applications in the pipeline will be processed, including renewals for DACA recipients “facing near-term expiration. This is a gradual process, not a sudden phase out. Permits will not begin to expire for another six months, and will remain active for up to 24 months. Thus, in effect, I am not going to just cut DACA off, but rather provide a window of opportunity for Congress to finally act.”

Nevada’s Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval expressed support for the state’s DACA participants in a statement Tuesday morning, saying, “They are Nevadans.”

“These are individuals who were brought here as children and this is the country they know and love because it’s their home,” he said. “While the state has taken many actions to embrace and ensure equal opportunities for DACA recipients, a solution requires congressional action.”

Rep. Dina Titus, D-Nev., called the move “a disastrous mistake” that will hurt the state’s economy.

“Since 2012, DACA has helped more than 13,000 DREAMers in the state go to school, build careers, and strengthen our community. Now they will be forced into the shadows,” she said, using a term commonly used to describe DACA participants.

Roy Beck, president of the anti-DACA organization NumbersUSA, applauded Trump for keeping his campaign promise.

“Trump has delivered a wonderful Labor Day present to unemployed American millennials by ordering the end of former President Obama’s unconstitutional issuing of work permits under the DACA amnesty.” Beck than called on Congress to enact smart reform.

Some Republican support

Prospects for a congressional replacement for DACA were unclear.

There is some appetite for legislation among Republicans, including Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., who has partnered with Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., to seek a “fair solution”

“I have always believed DACA was presidential overreach,” he said Tuesday in a statement. “However, I equally understand the plight of the DREAM Act kids who – for all practical purposes – know no country other than America.”

But prospects for relief for the young immigrants may be complicated by hard-core pro-enforcement lawmakers seeking a broader immigration package.

Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., issued a statement suggesting that Congress could “mitigate” the consequences of extending DACA “by stopping the chain migration that hurts the working class and by strengthening the enforcement of our immigration laws.” He said a bill he introduced that would limit the amount of low-skilled immigrants and strengthen enforcement “should be the starting point of our discussions.”

Asked if Trump would sign or veto a stand-alone continuation of DACA without any sops to the right, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders responded that Trump is looking for “responsible immigration reform. We can’t just have one tweet to the immigration system; we need really big fixes and big reform in this process. And we’ve laid out the principles that we feel are important in that.”

Obama weighs in

Obama released a statement on Facebook in which he lamented that Congress never gave him a DREAM Act bill. “And because it made no sense to expel talented, driven, patriotic young people from the only country they know solely because of the actions of their parents, my administration acted to lift the shadow of deportation … so that they could continue to contribute to our communities and our country.”

Again, Obama argued that his executive order was “based on the well-established principle of prosecutorial discretion.”

Paxton, the Texas attorney general, took issue with that claim. “The Obama-era program went far beyond the executive branch’s legitimate authority,” he wrote. “Had former President Obama’s unilateral order on DACA been left intact, it would have set a dangerous precedent by giving the executive branch sweeping authority to bypass Congress and change immigration laws.”

Contact Debra J. Saunders at dsaunders@reviewjournal.com or at 202-662-7391. Follow @DebraJSaunders on Twitter. Reuters contributed to this report.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Politics Videos
The Right Take: Biden's Racially Questionable Comments
Joe Biden has uttered racially charged statements for years. Now that he’s the frontrunner for the Democrat presidential nomination, he may finally face prolonged scrutiny for them.
Christopher Rufo Discusses Homelessness In The USA - VIDEO
Christopher Rufo discusses homelessness in the United States and how politicians can work to improve conditions for those with drug addictions.
Clark County 2019 Election Results - Video
The 2019 Elections wrap up in Clark County including an upset in the Boulder City Mayor race.
Olivia Diaz talks about her win in Ward 3 - VIDEO
Las Vegas City Councilwoman-elect Olivia Diaz talks about her election win in Ward 3 and what lies ahead for her.
Greene discusses Read by 3 and Opportunity Scholarships - VIDEO
The Nevada Legislative Session is over and the results are mixed for Nevada students, according to Tom Greene, Senior regional legislative director, Excel in Ed in Action.
Bernie Sanders visits Las Vegas
Sen. Bernie Sanders made a stop at Roy W. Martin middle school on Thursday, during his campaign trail.
Kamala Harris campaigns in Las Vegas
Democratic Sen. Kamala Harris castigated President Donald Trump’s merit-based immigration plan, saying it was “short-sighted” and overlooked the cultural significance of family, during a campaign stop in Las Vegas. “We cannot allow people to start parsing and pointing fingers and creating hierarchies among immigrants,” Harris told Asian Pacific Islander leaders at a Chinatown restaurant, one of two appearances she made Thursday.
The Right Take New Education Funding Plan - VIDEO
On Monday, Senate Education Committee chair Mo Denis, D-Las Vegas, released a new education funding formula. For years, many Democrat politicians have criticized the current education funding formula, called the Nevada Plan. They claim it’s old and outdated. Their biggest beef is that it doesn’t allocate more money for students who are English Language Learners or live in poverty. The theory is that it’s harder to educate those students and so they need additional services, which costs additional money.
Kamala Harris campaigns in Nevada
California Senator Kamala Harris meets with One APIA Nevada, a nonprofit organization that advocates for policies empowering Asian Pacific Islander Nevadans. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Ben Carson talks housing (Audio only)
Ben Carson discusses housing with the Review-Journal editorial board on Thursday. (Audio only)
Ben Carson visits the RJ (Full Audio Only)
Ben Carson discusses housing with the Review-Journal editorial board on Thursday. (Audio only)
Former Vice President Joe Biden campaigns in Nevada
After campaigning at the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades District Council 16 in Henderson, former Vice President Joe Biden spoke with the Review-Journal.
Student serenades Mayor Carolyn Goodman at swearing in
Students from the school she founded, The Meadows School, serenaded Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman during a swearing in ceremony for her third and final term. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Al Gore Speaks At UNLV About Climate Change - Video
Former Vice President of the United States Al Gore talks to an audience at UNLV about the effects of Climate change and how to switch to renewable sources of energy.
Forum on Wages and Working People Highlights - VIDEO
Presidential candidates Elizabeth Warren, Beto O'Rourke, Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar, Julian Castro, and John Hickenlooper speak in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Nevada Politics Today Valerie Weber - VIDEO
Valerie Weber sits down with Victor Joecks to discuss her policies and why she is running for Ward 2 of the Las Vegas City Council.
Cory Booker speaks at UNLV
US Senator Cory Booker speaks at UNLV during a Young Democrats meet and greet on Thursday, April 18, 2019. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
May-Brown describes why some with disabilities need the subminimum wage - VIDEO
Eliminating the subminimum wage will end training and work opportunities for some members of the disabled community. Instead of doing something productive, they would be relegated to adult day care. That’s according to Tracy May-Brown, Opportunity Village’s director of advocacy, board and government relations.
Commission’s decision will delay Red Rock Canyon development
The Clark County Commission Wednesday rejected a developer’s request to approve a preliminary plan for 3,000 homes overlooking Red Rock Canyon before a federal agency grants permission for a roadway leading to the site.
Clark County commissioner calls on landlords to bring properties up to code
Clark County Commissioner Tick Segerblom has called on landlords in older parts of the valley to bring their properties up to code and keep them well-maintained or face the prospect of inspections, fines and citations. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Harry Reid speaks out against anti-Semitism
Unnerved by the rise in anti-Semitic hate speech and the general pervasiveness of bigotry, including in Nevada, former U.S. Sen. Harry Reid organized an educational forum at UNLV on Thursday as part of his call to unite people against it. (Shea Johnson/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
President Trump speaks to the Republican Jewish Coalition in Las Vegas
President Donald Trump spoke at the Republican Jewish Coalition’s National Leadership Meeting in Las Vegas and updated on Israeli relations. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Trump says border wall will have 'hundreds of miles' built by end of next year
President Donald Trump spoke at the Republican Jewish Coalition’s National Leadership Meeting in Las Vegas and discussed the progress of the border wall and the current relations there. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Protesters disrupt Trump's speech
Just as President Donald Trump started to make his opening remarks during his appearance at the Republican Jewish Coalition’s National Leadership Meeting, protesters disrupted his speech. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Roerink On The Problems With Taking Water From Eastern Nevada - Video
The Southern Nevada Water Authority wants to take billions of gallons of water that doesn’t exist from Eastern Nevada via a pipeline that would cost ratepayers $15 billion. Doing so would devastate the wildlife and people who live there. That’s according to Kyle Roerink, executive director of the Great Basin Water Network, which opposes the pipeline.
Las Vegas Election Night Wrap-Up
The Review-Journal's Politics and Government Editor, Steve Sebelius, wraps up election night. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Olivia Diaz Speaks To Ward 3 Supporters After Primary Election - Video
Olivia Diaz speaks to her supporters at a election party after results started coming in for the Ward 3 primaries.
Oscar Goodman Speaks On Behalf Of Mayor At Primary Win (edited)
Oscar Goodman spoke Tuesday night on behalf of his wife, Carolyn, who won the mayoral primary election. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Oscar Goodman Speaks On Behalf Of Mayor At Primary Win (Full)
Oscar Goodman spoke Tuesday night on behalf of his wife Carolyn, who won the mayoral primary election. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Gun Debate Shows Limits Of Government - Video
On Monday, the Assembly and Senate Judiciary Committees held a joint hearing on Assembly Bill 291. It would ban bump stocks and allow local governments to pass additional restrictions on firearms.
Lucy Flores speaks out about Biden incident
Former Nevada assemblywoman, Lucy Flores, expresses her feelings about an incident with former Vice President Joe Biden in 2014. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @Vegas88s
Harry Reid takes the stand in injury lawsuit
Former U.S. Sen. Harry Reid took the stand on Thursday in the product liability lawsuit brought against the makers of a resistance exercise band that Reid blames for blinding him in one eye.
Jurors hear opening statements in Reid personal injury trial
Opening statements were made on Tuesday in the product liability lawsuit brought by Harry Reid against against the makers of a resistance exercise band that Reid blames for blinding him in one eye.
Mayor Goodman delivers Meals on Wheels
Mayor Carolyn Goodman delivers Meals on Wheels to seniors on March 26, 2019.
Las Vegas City Council Ward 1 race
Candidates for Las Vegas City Council Ward 1. (Shea Johnson/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Trump order aims to disclose ‘real’ costs for health care

The details of what information will have to be disclosed and how it will be made available to patients must be worked out as part of writing the regulations.

US moves 300 migrant kids after poor conditions exposed in Texas

The U.S. government has removed most of the children from a remote Border Patrol station in Texas following reports that more than 300 children were detained there.

Judge says census question might have discriminatory motive

A U.S. judge says new evidence paints a “disturbing picture” that racial discrimination may be the motive behind the Trump administration’s push to ask everyone in the country about citizenship status.

Supreme Court rules for business, government in information fight

The Supreme Court sided with businesses and the U.S. government Monday in a ruling about the public’s access to information, telling a South Dakota newspaper it can’t get the data it was seeking.

Bernie Sanders to unveil bill to cancel all student loan debt

Days before the first Democratic presidential debates, Sen. Bernie Sanders and House progressives are unveiling legislation canceling all student debt, going further than a signature proposal by Sen. Elizabeth Warren as the two jockey for support from the party’s liberal base.

South Bend residents confront Buttigieg after fatal police shooting

Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg faced criticism Sunday from angry residents of South Bend, Indiana, at an emotional town hall meeting a week after a white police officer fatally shot a black man in the city where he is mayor.

‘Dreamers’ should immediately be made citizens, Biden says

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden is calling for Congress to grant citizenship immediately to more than 800,000 U.S. residents who were brought to the country illegally as children.