President Donald Trump may keep his campaign promise to rescind DACA — President Barack Obama’s “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals” program — by allowing a lawsuit by Texas and ten other states to go undefended, according to Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly.
The Washington Post reports that Kelly — who personally supports the program — met with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Wednesday to warn them that over 800,000 illegal aliens protected by DACA may be subject to deportation if the administration declines to defend it from a court challenge.
‘This is what he’s being told by different attorneys, that if it goes to court it might not survive,’ DHS spokesman David Lapan told the Post. If Congress does not pass a bill to protect the program, he added, “they’re leaving it in the hands of the courts to make a decision.”
Eleven states, including Texas, are calling the president’s bluff on DACA, threatening a lawsuit to hold the president to his word. They’ve given him until September 5 to rescind the controversial program.
Polizette reports that the focus of the lawsuit will be the “2012 memorandum signed by President Barack Obama which allowed people brought to the U.S. illegally as children to apply for two-year work permits, and to be granted a reprieve from deportation.”
To date, the program has created the effect of legal status for almost 800,000 people, who have been able to live and work in the country “as though they were legal residents.” The only problem for DACA recipients is that the program is temporary, and must be renewed every two years.
Kelly has already rescinded another of Obama’s executive orders, known as “DAPA” shielding the families of DACA recipients from deportation.
Reaction from Hispanic Caucus members was swift, but predictable, per the Post report:
“Jeff Sessions is going to say, ‘Deport them,’ ” a visibly shaken Rep. Luis V. Gutiérrez (D-Ill.) said in English and Spanish, noting that the attorney general had been a fierce opponent of illegal immigration as a senator from Alabama. “If you’re going to count on Jeff Sessions to save DACA, then DACA is ended.”
California’s Democrat Attorney General Xavier Becerra, an outspoken, self-described general of the anti-Trump ‘Resistance,’ is taking a different tack: “If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.”
According to the Los Angeles Times, Becerra is trying to tip the President’s hand by offering to join Trump in court defending DACA.
“We are prepared to work with the Trump administration and support President Trump’s previous declarations that the DACA program was one he was not prepared to rescind,” Becerra reportedly said. “It is very important to have an idea of where [the president] stands on the issue.”
The Republican-controlled Congress is unlikely to pass any legislation to save DACA, leaving it to die in the courts if the administration does not act.