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Letter from Attorney General Sessions on the end of DACA program

Office of the Attorney General
Washington D.C. 20530

Dear Acting Secretary Duke,

I write to advise that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) should rescind the June 15, 2012, DHS Memorandum entitled "Exercising Prosecutorial Discretion with Respect to Individuals Who Came to the United States as Children," as well as any related memoranda or guidance. This policy, known as "Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals" (DACA), allows certain individuals who are without lawful status in the United States to request and receive a renewable, two-year presumptive reprieve from removal, and other benefits such as work authorization and participation in the Social Security program.

DACA was effectuated by the previous administration through executive action, without proper statutory authority and with no established end-date, after Congress' repeated rejection of proposed legislation that would have accomplished a similar result. Such an open-ended circumvention of immigration laws was an unconstitutional exercise of authority by the Executive Branch. The related Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) policy was enjoined on a nationwide basis in a decision affirmed by the Fifth Circuit on the basis of multiple legal grounds and then by the Supreme Court by an equally divided vote. See Texas v. United States, 86 F. Supp. 3d 591, 669-70 (S.D. Tex.), affd, 809 F.3d 134, 171-86 (5th Cir. 2015), affd by equally divided Court, 136 S. Ct. 2271 (2016). Then-Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly rescinded the DAPA policy in June. Because the DACA policy has the same legal and constitutional defects that the courts recognized as to DAPA, it is likely that potentially imminent litigation would yield similar results with respect to DACA.

In light of the costs and burdens that will be imposed on DHS associated with rescinding this policy, DHS should consider an orderly and efficient wind-down process.

As Attorney General of the United States, I have a duty to defend the Constitution and to faithfully execute the laws passed by Congress. Proper enforcement of our immigration laws is, as President Trump consistently said, critical to the national interest and to the restoration of the rule of law in our country. The Department of Justice stands ready to assist and to continue to support DHS in these important efforts.


Jefferson B. Sessions III

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small logoThis document has been published on 10Oct17 by the Equipo Nizkor and Derechos Human Rights. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.