President Donald Trump’s decision to terminate a program that provided protections for young undocumented immigrants was publicly announced by Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Tuesday.
Sessions indicated the decision to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program stemmed from the fact it was unilaterally implemented by former President Barack Obama without approval from Congress.
“The executive branch, through DACA, deliberately sought to achieve what the legislative branch specifically refused to authorize on multiple occasions,” Sessions said.
He added, “Such an open-ended circumvention of immigration laws was an unconstitutional exercise of authority by the Executive Branch.”
The DACA program adopted by Obama provides certain illegal immigrants who were brought to the country as children protection from deportation and eligibility to apply for work permits.
Sessions noted that DACA would be wound down to create a time period for Congress to act to address the approximately 800,000 undocumented immigrants granted protection under the program.
A memo from acting Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke revealed the government will stop processing new applications for DACA protection but said current recipients will not be affected before March 5, 2018.
Trump said in a statement the move provides a window of opportunity for Congress to finally act on immigration reform.
“Congress now has the opportunity to advance responsible immigration reform that puts American jobs and American security first,” Trump said.
He added, “We are facing the symptom of a larger problem, illegal immigration, along with the many other chronic immigration problems Washington has left unsolved.”
Trump said he looks forward to working with Republicans and Democrats to finally address immigration issues in a manner that puts hardworking American citizens first.
House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., who previously said Trump should not terminate DACA, noted the status of the undocumented immigrants known as Dreamers is one of many immigration issues that Congress has failed to adequately address.
“It is my hope that the House and Senate, with the president’s leadership, will be able to find consensus on a permanent legislative solution that includes ensuring that those who have done nothing wrong can still contribute as a valued part of this great country,” Ryan said in a statement.
While Ryan and other Republicans have expressed sympathy for Dreamers, immigration…