UPDATE: Trump ends DACA program, no new applications accepted - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

UPDATE: Trump ends DACA program, no new applications accepted

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UPDATE: President Donald Trump’s Justice Department announced Tuesday it would wind down DACA, putting in place a phased termination plan that would give Congress a six-month window to pass legislation that could eventually save the Obama-era program that allowed undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as children to remain in the country.

Under the plan announced by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the Trump administration will stop considering new applications for legal status dated after Tuesday, but will allow any DACA recipients with a permit set to expire before March 5, 2018, the opportunity to apply for a two-year renewal.

Sessions repeatedly referred to DACA as "unconstitutional" and said "the policy is vulnerable to...legal and constitutional challenges."

"It is my duty to ensure that the laws of the United States are enforced and that the constitutional order is upheld," Sessions said in explaining his rationale. "Such an open-ended circumvention of immigration laws was an unconstitutional executive overreach of authority by the executive branch."

The decision could affect as many as 800,000 Dreamers who have signed up for the program, known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, since its 2012 inception. Immigrant rights advocates have said 200,000 more have sought DACA status since Trump became president.

Trump’s decision signals he’s moving full-steam ahead with his hardline immigration campaign promises — despite multiple walk-backs from him on the issue of DACA — and came on the same day that Republican officials from 10 states had set as a deadline for the administration to end the program.

Those officials had said they would sue the administration over DACA if Trump hadn’t ended it by Sept. 5. Led by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, the group said the government should stop accepting DACA renewal applications, allowing those now in effect to continue until their two-year period expires.

Signaling quick action, the Department of Homeland Security said Tuesday that it had already begun moving ahead with an "orderly wind down of the program," issuing a memo formally rescinding the Obama memo that had created.

"The Department of Justice has carefully evaluated the program’s Constitutionality and determined it conflicts with our existing immigration laws," Acting DHS Secretary Elaine Duke said.

Duke said that the option chosen by Sessions would "limit disruption to current DACA beneficiaries while providing time for Congress to seek a legislative solution."

Trump, for his part, appeared to pressure Congress to do just that in an early-morning Tweet Tuesday.

"Congress, get ready to do your job - DACA!" he posted ahead of Sessions’ announcement, as lawmakers were returning after their August break.

President Barack Obama created DACA through an executive order in 2012 for people without serious criminal histories who were younger than 16 when they came to the United States before 2007.

The program allows eligible young people to seek DACA protection for renewable two-year periods. Applicants can file when they turn 15, and immigration experts say the program could end up covering 1.3 million young people if it were allowed to continue. Requests for renewals are now being filed at the rate of about 8,000 a week.

Trump, who as recently as Friday had said, "We love dreamers, we love everybody ... the Dreamers are terrific," remained in meetings at the White House on Tuesday, while Sessions made the announcement Tuesday about DACA’s future.

Although House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., urged Trump last week to keep the program and allow Congress to fix it, other Republicans have described it as illegal.

Sessions had made no secret of his support for ending DACA and booting Dreamers from the U.S.

When asked about DACA during his confirmation hearing in January, Sessions said, "it would certainly be constitutional, I believe, to end that order" and that he "would have no objection to a decision to abandon that order."

In April, he said, "We can't promise people who are here unlawfully that they're not going to be deported."

Trump, on the other hand, had been all over the map on the topic.

During the 2016 campaign, Trump said he would cancel DACA, vowing to "immediately terminate" the policy.

And in an August 2015 interview with NBC's Chuck Todd on "Meet the Press," Trump said DACA recipients "have to go."

But in late April 2017 he sent a different message, telling The Associated Press that young people covered by the program could "rest easy" because his administration was “not after the Dreamers, we are after the criminals."

"This is a case of heart," he said.


PREVIOUS STORY: President Donald Trump signaled Tuesday he’d be moving forward with a plan for DACA that would give Congress a window to act on the Obama-era program allowing young undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as children to remain in the country.

"Congress, get ready to do your job - DACA!" Trump tweeted Tuesday morning as lawmakers were returning after their August break.

The post came just hours ahead of an expected announcement from Attorney General Jeff Sessions about the future of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

NBC News reported Monday that Trump was leaning toward ending DACA with a six-month delay to provide Congress the opportunity to act on program.

Trump’s decision, which was first reported by Politico, is not final until it is announced, sources told NBC News.

President Barack Obama created DACA through an executive order in 2012 for people without serious criminal histories who were younger than 16 when they came to the United States before 2007.

About 800,000 people are covered under the policy, although immigrant rights advocates have said 200,000 more have sought DACA status since Trump became president.

Although House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., urged Trump last week to keep the program and allow Congress to fix it, other Republicans have described it as illegal.

In June, 10 Republican attorneys general and the governor of Idaho told the White House that they wouldn't challenge the Trump administration in federal court if Obama's executive order is rescinded by Tuesday.

During the 2016 campaign, Trump said he would cancel DACA. But in late April he sent a different message, telling The Associated Press that young people covered by the program could "rest easy" because his priority was deporting criminals. "This is a case of heart," he said. 

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