Good morning. I am here today to announce that the program known as
that was effectuated under the Obama Administration is being rescinded.
The DACA program was implemented in 2012 and essentially provided a
legal status for recipients for a renewable two-year term, worker
authorization and other benefits, including participation in the Social
Security program, to 800,000 mostly adult illegal aliens.
This policy was implemented unilaterally to great controversy and legal
concern after Congress rejected legislative proposals to extend similar
benefits to -- on numerous occasions to this same group of illegal aliens.
In other words, the
Executive Branch, through DACA, deliberately sought
to achieve what the
Legislative Branch specifically refused to authorize
on multiple occasions. Such an open-ended circumvention of immigration
laws was an unconstitutional exercise of authority by the Executive
The effect of this unilateral Executive amnesty, among other things,
contributed to a surge of [unaccompanied] minors at the southern border
that yielded terrible humanitarian consequences. It also denied jobs to
hundreds of thousands of Americans by allowing those same illegal aliens
to take those jobs.
We inherited from our Founders -- and have advanced -- an unsurpassed legal
heritage, which is the foundation of our freedom, our safety, and
As Attorney General, it is my duty to ensure that the laws of the
United States are enforced and that the Constitutional order is upheld.
No greater good [can be done] for the overall health and well-being of our
Republic, than preserving and strengthening the impartial rule of law.
Societies where the rule of law is treasured are societies that tend to
flourish and succeed.
Societies where the rule of law is subject to political whims and
personal biases tend to become societies afflicted by corruption,
poverty, and human suffering.
To have a lawful system of immigration that serves the national
interest, we cannot admit everyone who would like to come here. It's
just that simple. There is an open -- That would be
an open borders policy and the American people have rightly rejected
Therefore, the nation must set and enforce a limit on how many
immigrants we admit each year and that means all can not be accepted.
This does not mean they are bad people or that our nation disrespects or
demeans them in any way. It means we are properly enforcing our laws as
Congress has passed them.
It is with these principles and duties in mind, and in light of imminent
litigation, that we reviewed the Obama Administrationís DACA policy.
Our collective wisdom is that the policy is vulnerable to the same legal
and constitutional challenges that the courts recognized with respect to
DAPA program, which was enjoined on a nationwide basis in a decision
affirmed by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.
The Fifth Circuit specifically concluded that DACA had not been
implemented in a fashion that allowed sufficient discretion, and that
DAPA was ďforeclosed by Congressís careful plan" (close quote).1
In other words, the immigration law that Congress passed foreclosed this
possibility of DACA. In other words, it was inconsistent with the Constitutionís separation
of powers. That decision was
affirmed by the Supreme Court on an equally
If we were to keep the Obama Administrationís Executive Amnesty policy,
the likeliest outcome is that it would too be enjoined just as was DAPA. The
Department of Justice has advised the President and the Department of
Homeland Security that the Department of Homeland Security should begin an orderly, lawful wind down,
including the cancellation of
the memo that authorized this program.
Acting Secretary Duke has chosen, appropriately, to initiate a wind down
process. This will enable the Department of Homeland Security to conduct an orderly change and fulfill
the desire of this Administration to create a time period for Congress
to act -- should it so choose. We firmly believe this is the responsible
Simply put, if we are to further our goal of strengthening the
constitutional order and the rule of law in America, the Department of
Justice cannot defend this overreach.
George Washington University Law School Professor
Jonathan Turley in testimony before the House Judiciary Committee was clear about
the enormous constitutional infirmities raised by this action.
He said (quote) in his testimony:
In ordering this blanket exception, President Obama was
nullifying part of a law that he simply disagreed with....If a president
can claim sweeping discretion to suspend key federal laws, the entire
legislative process becomes little more than a pretense....The
circumvention of the legislative process not only undermines the
authority of this branch --
-- he's referring to the Legislative Branch --
-- but destabilizes the tripartite system as a
So this is not a little matter. Ending the previous Administrationís disrespect for the legislative
process is an important first step. All immigration policies should
serve the interests of the people of the United States -- lawful immigrant
and native born alike.
Congress should carefully and thoughtfully pursue the types of reforms
that are right for the American people. Our nation is comprised of good
and decent people who want their governmentís leaders to fulfill their
promises and advance an immigration policy that serves the national
We are people of compassion and we are people of law. But there is
nothing compassionate about the failure to enforce immigration laws.
Enforcing the law saves lives, protects communities and taxpayers, and
prevents human suffering. Failure to enforce the laws in the past has
put our nation at risk of crime, violence, even terrorism.
The compassionate thing to do is end the lawlessness, enforce our laws,
and, if Congress chooses to make changes to those laws, to do so through
the process set forth by our Founders in a way that advances the
interests of the American people.
That is what the President has promised to do and has delivered to the
Under President Trumpís leadership, this Administration has made great
progress in the last few months toward establishing a lawful and
constitutional immigration system. This makes us safer and more secure.
It will further economically the lives of millions who are struggling.
And it will enable our country to more effectively teach new immigrants
about our system of government and to assimilate them to the cultural
understandings that support it.
The substantial progress in reducing illegal immigration at our border
seen in recent months is almost entirely due to the leadership
of President Trump and his inspired immigration officers. But
the problem is not yet solved. And without more action, we could see
illegality rise again rather than be eliminated.
As a candidate, and now in office, President Trump has offered specific
ideas and legislative solutions that will protect American workers,
increase wages and salaries, defend the national security, ensure the
public safety, and increase the general well-being of the American
He has worked closely with many members of Congress, including in the
introduction of the
RAISE Act, which would produce enormous benefits for
our country. And this is how our democratic process works.
There are many powerful interest groups in the country and every one of
them has a constitutional right to advocate their views and represent
whomever they choose.
But the Department of Justice does not represent any narrow interest or
any subset of the American people. We represent all of the American
people and protect the integrity of our Constitution. That is our
We at Department of Justice are proud and honored to work to advance
this vision for America and to do our best each day to ensure the safety
and security of the American people.
Thank you very much.