Terminate Barack Obama's immigration executive orders 'immediately'

"Immediately terminate President Obama’s two illegal executive amnesties (Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals). All immigration laws will be enforced -- we will triple the number of ICE agents. Anyone who enters the U.S. illegally is subject to deportation. That is what it means to have laws and to have a country."


Federal judge orders Trump administration to continue renewing DACA applications

A federal judge has ordered the Trump administration to resume accepting renewal applications for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, an Obama-era program that prevented the deportation of some young immigrants.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced in September the winding down of DACA, saying no new applications would be accepted and that immigrants whose status expired by March 5 had to submit renewal applications by Oct. 5, 2017. No renewal applications would be accepted after that date, the department said.

President Donald Trump contends that DACA is unconstitutional, and that the Obama administration did not have the authority to create the program.

But U.S. District Judge William Alsup on Jan. 9 said the Trump administration's rescission of  the program was "based on the flawed legal premise that the agency lacked authority to implement DACA."

Therefore, Alsup ordered, pending final judgment, that the U.S. government keep DACA on the same terms and conditions that were in effect before the September rescission. Current DACA recipients can submit renewal applications, the judge said.

DACA's rescission was legally challenged by many, including the Regents of the University of California; Janet Napolitano, president of the University of California (who served as DHS secretary in 2012 and issued the memo creating DACA); several states and DACA beneficiaries.

They alleged that DACA's rescission violated the Administrative Procedure Act, deprived recipients of constitutionally-protected property and liberty interests without due process of law, and violated equal protection of the law.

Trump responded to the order on Jan. 10, tweeting: "It just shows everyone how broken and unfair our Court System is when the opposing side in a case (such as DACA) always runs to the 9th Circuit and almost always wins before being reversed by higher courts."

The Justice Department said it remained committed to its position that DACA was an "unlawful circumvention of Congress" and that it looked forward to further litigation.

DHS can but is not required to process applications from new applicants or to advance requests from current beneficiaries to be able to travel outside the United States, Alsup wrote in his order. The department can also remove any individual, including DACA enrollees, determined to pose a risk to national security or the public, he said.

Trump and bipartisan lawmakers met on Jan. 9 to discuss a potential legislative solution for DACA recipients. Trump expressed a willingness to help DACA beneficiaries but affirmed after the meeting that border security, particularly his promised wall with Mexico, "must be part of any DACA approval."

Alsup's ruling that DHS resume accepting renewal applications for DACA is a setback for the Trump administration, but it's still not required to accept new applications. This promise continues to rate In the Works.


Politico, Jan. 9, 2018 ruling on DACA

Department of Homeland Security, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), last published Sept. 8, 2017

Twitter, @realdonaldtrump, tweet, Jan. 9, 2018; tweet, Jan. 10, 2018

NPR, Federal Judge Temporarily Blocks Trump's Decision To End DACA, Jan. 10, 2018

PolitiFact, Trump-O-Meter: Build a wall, and make Mexico pay for it, last updated Oct. 2, 2017

PolitiFact, What happened at the immigration meeting between Trump, bipartisan lawmakers, Jan. 9, 2018

Trump administration rescinds DACA

President Donald Trump's team is moving to end an Obama-era program that has deferred deportation for about 800,000 immigrants in the country illegally, something Trump pledged to do during the campaign.

But the move also gives Congress time to step in and keep the program in place. If that happens -- and it's far from certain it would -- it would be a reversal of Trump's promise.

The program, called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, put a temporary halt to the deportation of  immigrants who came to the United States illegally as children and who have grown up in the country going to school or working.

"We are a people of compassion and we are a people of law. But there is nothing compassionate about the failure to enforce immigration laws," Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in his Sept. 5 announcement to rescind DACA.

Homeland Security Acting Secretary Elaine Duke said the decision was not taken lightly, but was an attempt to reconcile the program with existing law.

"As a result of recent litigation, we were faced with two options: wind the program down in an orderly fashion that protects beneficiaries in the near-term while working with Congress to pass legislation; or allow the judiciary to potentially shut the program down completely and immediately," Duke said in a statement. "We chose the least disruptive option."

The Trump administration said no current beneficiaries will be impacted before March 5, 2018, giving Congress time to act.

"Congress, get ready to do your job - DACA!" Trump tweeted Sept. 5.

The administration will adjudicate, on an individual, case-by-case basis applications filed by Sept. 5, but will reject any new, initial requests filed after that date, senior DHS officials said. Individuals who currently have DACA and whose protection expires between Sept. 5 and March 5, 2018 can apply to renew it by Oct. 5, 2017.

Immigrants who currently have DACA will continue to benefit from deportation reprieve up to their application's validity period.

People who came forward to participate in the program were spared from deportation, as immigration officials exercised prosecutorial discretion and did not prioritize them for removal.

A June 2012 memo from then-Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano cited the people's lack of intent to break the rules.

"As a general matter, these individuals lacked the intent to violate the law, and our ongoing review of pending removal cases is already offering administrative closure to many of them," Napolitano said. "However, additional measures are necessary to ensure that our enforcement resources are not expended on these low priority cases but are instead appropriately focused on people who meet our enforcement priorities."

Duke rescinded that memo.

DACA did not grant recipients legal status, but it was renewable every two years, and they were also eligible to apply for work permits. (See our previous story for more information on age and background requirements for program eligibility.)

As a presidential candidate, Trump criticized DACA as unconstitutional and said he would "immediately" terminate it if elected. But since he has been in office, an estimated 100,000 people have been approved for the program.

After the election, Trump expressed more sympathetic views toward DACA recipients, so-called "Dreamers." "Dreamers" is a nickname initially used for potential beneficiaries of the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act (DREAM Act) — legislation that never passed but that was designed to help this group of immigrants.

"We're going to work something out that's going to make people happy and proud," Trump told Time magazine in an interview after the Nov. 8 election. "They got brought here at a very young age, they've worked here, they've gone to school here. Some were good students. Some have wonderful jobs. And they're in never-never land because they don't know what's going to happen."

At a Feb. 16 press conference, Trump said DACA was a "very, very difficult subject" for him and that "we're going to deal with DACA with heart."

"I have advised the Department of Homeland Security that DACA recipients are not enforcement priorities unless they are criminals, are involved in criminal activity, or are members of a gang," Trump said in a Sept. 5 statement.

Trump's decision to end DACA came by the Sept. 5 deadline set by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, attorneys general from nine other states, and the governor of Idaho.

In a June 29 letter to Sessions, they requested that the secretary of Homeland Security phase out DACA, rescind the June 2012 memo, and that there be no more approvals for new, renewal or expanded DACA applications.

If by Sept. 5 the administration had not rescinded DACA, the states would sue the administration over the program, the letter said.

Texas and 25 other states won a separate legal challenge against the Obama administration by having a federal district judge block the implementation of another deportation reprieve program, Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA), and an expanded version of DACA. An appeals court upheld the ruling, and in 2016 the Supreme Court ruled 4-4 on the case, leaving in place the lower court's ruling.

Sessions said DACA was created as an overreach of the Obama administration, not by the legislative body and that it was vulnerable to the same legal challenges DAPA faced.

"We firmly believe this is the responsible path," Sessions said about the winding down of DACA.

Trump's latest actions are in line with his campaign promise, though it's possible that Congress may act to allow Dreamers to stay. Some lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have expressed their support and pledged to pass legislation to favor Dreamers. Trump has set a deadline for DACA, but immigrants can still apply to renew their current applications.

So Trump is moving toward ending the program while giving Congress an opportunity to keep it. We will continue to monitor this campaign pledge closely. For now, we rate his pledge to terminate Obama's deferred action programs as In the Works.


Justice Department, Attorney General Sessions Delivers Remarks on DACA, Sept. 5, 2017

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton's letter to U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, dated June 29, 2017

DACA memo from then-Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, June 15, 2012

CBS News, Graham tells Republicans "moment of reckoning" is coming on Dream Act, July 20, 2017

Twitter, @SenatorDurbin tweet, Aug. 15, 2017

PolitiFact, In context: "Dreamers" and background checks, Dec. 12, 2016

New York Times, Supreme Court Tie Blocks Obama Immigration Plan, June 23, 2016

The White House, Press Briefing by Press Secretary Sarah Sanders and Homeland Security Advisor Tom Bossert, 8/31/2017, #8, Aug. 31, 2017

Time, 2016 Person of the Year Donald Trump

CNN Transcripts, Trump Live News Conference; President Trump's News Conference; Trump Defensive Over Media; Trump talks Travel Ban Rollout, Feb. 16, 2017

Trump administration rescinds memo for DAPA, keeps DACA

President Donald Trump's administration has rescinded an Obama-era memo that created a program to defer deportation for undocumented parents of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents. 

But Trump has kept in place another program that benefits so-called "Dreamers," immigrants who came to the United States as children and are here illegally. 

The Department of Homeland Security on June 15 said that after consulting with Attorney General Jeff Sessions, it decided to rescind a November 2014 memo outlining guidance for Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents, better known as DAPA.

DAPA was never implemented during the Obama administration. Texas and 25 other states challenged the program in courts contending that then President Barack Obama abused his executive powers and did not follow administrative procedures. The Supreme Court in June 2016 reviewed the case and deadlocked 4-4. (Justice Antonin Scalia had died in February 2016 and had not yet been replaced.) That vote kept in place a lower court's ruling to halt the program.

About 5 million immigrants in the country illegally would have benefitted from DAPA, the program for parents.

DHS said it rescinded the DAPA memo "because there is no credible path forward to litigate the currently enjoined policy." DHS Secretary John Kelly also took into consideration Trump's new, expanded enforcement policies, the department said.

The 2014 memo also sought to expand provisions for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), the program offering deportation reprieve for "Dreamers." The expansions outlined in the memo have also been rescinded, but the original program for Dreamers remains in effect.

It's not clear to us if the program for Dreamers is here to stay, or if it remains under review. We asked DHS if the administration was also reviewing the June 2012 memo that created DACA. We did not get a response by deadline.

Trump campaigned on a promise to terminate both DAPA and DACA. So far, only one has been revoked. We rate this promise In the Works.


Department of Homeland Security, Rescission of Memorandum Providing for Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents ("DAPA"), June 15, 2017

Department of Homeland Security, Frequently Asked Questions: Rescission of Memorandum Providing for Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents ("DAPA"), June 15, 2017

The Texas Tribune, The Brief: Immigration and the Supreme Court, April 18, 2016

The New York Times, Supreme Court to Hear Challenge to Obama Immigration Actions, Jan. 19, 2016

Department of Homeland Security, DAPA and DACA expansion memo, Nov. 20, 2014

Department of Homeland Security, original DACA memo, June 2012

PolitiFact, Trump moves on promises on immigration, deportations in first month, Feb. 24, 2017

President Donald Trump addresses a joint session of Congress on Feb. 28 in the House chamber of the U.S. Capitol. (Photo by Jim Lo Scalzo - Pool/Getty Images)
President Donald Trump addresses a joint session of Congress on Feb. 28 in the House chamber of the U.S. Capitol. (Photo by Jim Lo Scalzo - Pool/Getty Images)

DHS memo spares 'Dreamers' granted protection from deportation, Trump presents flexible tone

As a candidate for the U.S. presidency, Donald Trump made it clear he would get rid of programs that deferred deportation for certain groups of immigrants -- "immediately," he said.

More than a month has passed since he became president, though, and immigration officials are still taking applications for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), a program Trump characterized as "unconstitutional."

A Feb. 20 Department of Homeland Security memo outlined guidance on how to implement an immigration executive order Trump signed Jan. 25.

The memo revoked prior department memos on enforcement priorities, but excluded two documents, including the 2012 memo on prosecutorial discretion for immigrants who came to the country as children (the recipients of DACA).

More than 740,000 people have been approved for DACA.

After winning the presidency, Trump expressed some leniency toward this group, commonly called "Dreamers."

"We're going to work something out that's going to make people happy and proud," Trump told Time magazine in an interview after the Nov. 8 election. "They got brought here at a very young age, they've worked here, they've gone to school here. Some were good students. Some have wonderful jobs. And they're in never-never land because they don't know what's going to happen."

Trump repeated a similar, sympathetic tone after his inauguration.

"DACA is a very, very difficult subject for me," Trump said Feb. 16 in a press conference. "We're gonna deal with DACA with heart. I have to deal with a lot of politicians, don't forget, and I have to convince them that what I'm saying is right. And I appreciate your understanding on that."

Since Trump took office, there have been reports of "Dreamers" been detained by immigration authorities, including a 23-year-old in Washington State. ICE said he was arrested based on admitted gang affiliation and risk to public safety, though his lawyers have denied that affiliation.

The Feb. 20 DHS memo also excluded from revocation a 2014 memo that expanded prosecutorial discretion to parents of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents and which removed an age cap for possible DACA recipients.

The expanded version of DACA and Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) are on hold after court rulings during the Obama administration halted their implementation.

Trump promised to immediately eliminate programs that defer deportation for some immigrants. This has not happened. We rate this promise Stalled.


Department of Homeland Security, Implementation memo on Enforcement of the Immigration Laws to Serve the National Interest, Feb. 20, 2017

White House, Executive Order: Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States, Jan. 25, 2017