The Acting Secretary of Homeland Security said Sunday that the Obama-era DACA deportation amnesty program for “Dreamers” is still illegal, and the department will try again to cancel it, after the Supreme Court last week shot down a previous attempt to do so.
Acting Secretary Chad F. Wolf said the 650,000 people currently protected by the program will not be deported, and can have their permits renewed, just as most of them have done during the three-year legal battle over the phaseout attempt.
But he said DACA, created by a Homeland Security memo in 2012, is not legal and he said President Trump has asked him to “wind down this program. We’re not going to continue to operate an unlawful program,” he told CBS’s “Face the Nation” program.
Chief Justice Roberts said the president has the power to unwind the program, but must follow key procedural steps. The high court never said DACA was legal — just that the phaseout was done illegally. Writing in dissent, Justice Clarence Thomas pointed out that the majority’s decision creates the bizarre situation where a program created illegally by an executive branch memo could not be ended the same way.
Senate Democrats, led by Sen. Richard Durbin of Illinois, fired off a letter complaining that it was Mr. Trump who was refusing to accept a legalization bill from Congress without strings. And they urged Mr. Trump not to try another phaseout. They said the high court had ruled it was “well within your executive authority to protect Dreamers” — something that the justices did not actually say — and said the president should not only reopen the program, but expand it to allow for new applications.
Since the legal battle over the phaseout began, the Trump administration — under court order — has been processing renewals for people already in the DACA program, granting them two-year extensions. But it has refused to process new applications.
In the wake of the court’s ruling last week at least one immigrant-rights group filed a new application, looking to challenge that roadblock. Mr. Wolf, in the CBS interview Sunday, suggested that won’t be allowed. “We’ll continue the program as we have over the past two years, continuing to renew those,” he said.
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Updated: Mon, Jul 6th 2020 @ 10:40am EDT