By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Tuesday, Sept. 5, 2017, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that President Donald Trump has made the decision to rescind former President Barack Obama’s Deferred Action for Child Arrivals (DACA) program, which gave temporary protection to the children of immigrants entering the country illegally.
The administration is barring any new applications for relief after September 5, 2017, and will stop renewing the applications for renewal after March 5, 2018. Trump is delaying the end of the program for six months in order to give Congress the opportunity to pass some sort of comprehensive immigration reform. Approximately 800,000 people have signed up for the program.
Sessions announced, “The program known as DACA that was effectuated under the Obama administration is being rescinded.” Sessions called the program “unconstitutional” and said that it was passed by Executive Action to achieve what the Obama administration could not pass legislatively working with Congress.
Alabama’s leaders released statements welcoming the news.
U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Saks, made the following statement regarding the decision to end the DACA program: “I applaud President Trump and Attorney General Sessions’ decision today to end the DACA program. Despite former President Obama’s reliance on executive orders to create unconstitutional immigrant amnesty programs, it is the Congress’ constitutional duty to write laws. Before considering any immigration reform, Congress should first pass legislation to fund the Border Wall. Only after securing the border, can Congress in good faith address immigration reform.”
Republican U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore said, “I applaud President Trump and Attorney General Sessions for rescinding President Obama’s unlawful DACA executive order. We must enforce our immigration laws to protect American workers and oppose amnesty under any name.”
U.S. Sen. Luther Strange said, “Since my tenure as Attorney General, I have been fighting, and winning, against Obama-era experiments with illegal amnesty. Today, the Trump administration rightly affirmed that Congress must lead the way in securing our borders and ending the crisis of illegal immigration.”
Strange and Moore will run against each other in the Sept. 26, 2017, Republican runoff for the Senate seat vacated by Sessions when Trump appointed him to U.S. attorney general.
U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne, R-Montrose, said, “I applaud the Trump Administration’s decision to rescind the DACA program. As has been shown by court rulings on similar programs, DACA is unconstitutional, has no justifiable legal basis, and is a blatant example of executive overreach. Under Attorney General Jeff Sessions and President Trump, it is clear our nation’s laws will be enforced, and that is good news for our system of government and for the American people.”
U.S. Rep. Martha Roby, R-Montgomery, said, “The Obama Administration’s DACA program illegally circumvented Congress and was one of many instances in which President Obama blatantly abused his executive authority. President Trump and Attorney General Sessions are right to phase out this program and allow Congress to craft the appropriate policy in an orderly and constitutional manner.”
Roby continued, “Our immigration policies should discourage illegal entry – not reward it. In addressing this problem, we must also recognize and be sympathetic to the fact that these individuals were brought here as children and not of their own accord. This is just one of the many areas of immigration law that needs to be fixed, and I look forward to working with my Judiciary Committee colleagues to craft policies that restore the rule of law and promote America’s economic interests.”
Pro-DACA advocates criticized the move.
The National President of the Hispanic National Bar Association, Pedro J. Torres-Díaz said in a statement, “While only providing temporary relief, DACA was designed to address the decade-long stalemate in Congress on immigration reform and give young Americans who live in this country without proper legal status, through no fault of their own, the opportunity to contribute fully to the only country they call home.”
Torres-Diaz added, “Now that the Trump Administration has effectively ended the program, the nation and the over 800,000 students, entrepreneurs, public servants and military servicemen and women must now look to Congress to take swift and humane action to close this chapter in our history and provide the stability these individuals need to continue to contribute to every segment in our society. With several legislative proposals in Congress enjoying broad bipartisan support designed to protect these individuals, we encourage Congress to act in a manner that upholds our American tradition of immigration and compassion.”
U.S. Senate candidate Doug Jones said, “I have been crystal clear and consistent in my support for DACA and am disappointed in President Trump’s decision. That said, this is not a partisan issue and should have been enacted by Congress a long time ago. Congress should now act quickly and not leave these young people in limbo. In that regard, let me be clear it is time for Robert Bentley’s appointed Senator Luther Strange to step up and do the right thing without someone pulling his strings. He should get to work with fellow republicans and reach across the aisle to craft a bipartisan solution that recognizes the value and contributions that these Dreamers have made to this great and compassionate country.”
The winner of the runoff between Moore and Strange will face Jones on December 12.