Margaret Menge, Lifezette, July 13, 2017
Facing the threat of a lawsuit from Texas and nine other states, the Trump administration indicated Wednesday that it may decline to defend DACA in court, a move that would likely result in the end of the program that granted amnesty to illegal immigrants brought to the U.S. when they were children.
Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly went up to Capitol Hill on Wednesday afternoon to address members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, telling them, according to reports, that although he personally supports the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, he can’t promise that the administration will defend it if challenged.
At issue is the 2012 memorandum signed by President Barack Obama that 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. Anyone under 30 years of age who came to the U.S. illegally before the age of 16 and before June of 2007 is eligible.
The program was referred to by critics as a blanket amnesty, as it has effectively legalized more than 750,000 people who have been granted DACA status. These people have been able to live and work in the U.S. as though they were legal residents.
The Pew Research Center has estimated that another one million people already in the U.S. may qualify for DACA.
At the end of June, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, along with nine other state attorneys general, sent a letter to the Trump administration, threatening to sue if the administration did not, by Sept. 5, 2017, rescind the memo that created DACA.
“If, by September 5, 2017, the executive branch agrees to rescind the June 15, 2012, DACA memorandum and not to renew or issue any new DACA or Expanded DACA permits in the future, then the plaintiffs that successfully challenged [Deferred Action for Parents of Americans] and Expanded DACA will voluntarily dismiss their lawsuit currently pending in the Southern District of Texas,” he wrote. “Otherwise, the complaint in that case will be amended to challenge both the DACA program and the remaining Expanded DACA permits.”