Attorney General Jeff Sessions said on Monday he will move forward with the Trump administration’s goal to completely repeal and rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Sessions comments came after a judge’s ruling last week that the controversial but very popular DACA program must be put back in place and made operational.
On Friday a federal judge ruled that the Trump administration must fully restore the program that provides protection from deportation some young immigrants who were brought to the United States illegally as children.
On Monday Sessions published a long statement that explained why he and the administration are pushing back against the ruling from Judge John Bates. Bates ruled that the Trump administration failed to provide justification for its decision to end the Obama-era program which affects hundreds of thousands of young people who were led to believe that if they completed their educations and got jobs they could stay in the United States and not be deported.
“Not only did the Trump Administration have the authority to withdraw this guidance letter, it had a duty to do so,” Sessions said in his formal statement released to the press.
Sessions also made the argument that Bates was overstepping his judicial authority in his court decision, saying that Bates’ actions were the same as dictating policy which a judge should not do.
“The judicial branch has no power to eviscerate the lawful directives of Congress—nor to enjoin the executive branch from enforcing such mandates,” the Attorney General said.
“We have recently witnessed a number of decisions in which courts have improperly used judicial power to steer, enjoin, modify, and direct executive policy,” he added.
The Trump administration moved to unilaterally end DACA last year and since then has called upon Congress to pass legislation extending it. The decision made then has subsequently faced a number of strong legal challenges. In fact three separate judges have ordered the administration to restore the program.
Trump has repeatedly blamed Democrats for not extending DACA, but almost nobody believes this is true since he is the one who ended it last fall, and since Republicans control Congress.
Despite this, three separate bipartisan measures and a White House-backed bill that addressed DACA extension all failed to pass the GOP-held Senate in February and so the program remains in limbo.
Sessions, a former senator from Alabama, has been leading the president’s crackdown on immigration. In April he announced the ill-advised “zero tolerance” policy and then was tasked with enforcing it. This policy required undocumented adults coming into the U.S. to be arrested, and their children taken away from them and incarcerated. This led to the illegal separation of thousands of migrant children from their parents and created a global outcry. After political pressure and losses in court the president signed an executive order to halt the separations, even though he had always claimed that only Congress could legally address the issue.
Sessions comments today are just another chapter in the sad story of Donald Trump’s attempts to appeal to his racist base of supporters by kicking out of the United States legal immigrants who are working hard to truly make our country great.