Jeff Sessions
Jeff
Sessions.

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Two of President Donald Trump’s top administration officials
provided vastly different statements in announcing his
decision to end Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals

known as DACA — in six months.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who announced the move in front
of cameras Tuesday morning, said DACA recipients were
“mostly-adult illegal aliens” and that President Barack Obama’s
executive order “contributed to a surge of unaccompanied minors
on the southern border that yielded terrible humanitarian
consequences” and “denied jobs to hundreds of thousands of
Americans by allowing those same jobs to go to illegal aliens.”

DACA shields from deportation and provides work permits to
roughly 800,000 immigrants who came to the US as minors and are
living in the country illegally.

Sessions additionally called for the US to “set and enforce a
limit on how many immigrants we admit each year and that means
all can not be accepted,” struck a different tone than acting
Homeland Security secretary Elaine Duke in her statement on the
rescinding of the policy.

In a sense, Sessions provided what a top Breitbart reporter
termed
as “going full Breitbart” in his announcement, while
Duke provided a response aimed to be more sympathetic to DACA
recipients.

Duke said the administration had only two options when it decided
to end the program: “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. The
Administration choose the least disruptive option.”

Pointing to the judiciary, Duke was highlighting the handful of
state attorneys general who were currently engaged in a legal
effort to shut down the program through the courts.

Duke said she was “very aware of the consequences of this
action,” adding that she sympathizes “with the DACA recipients
whose futures may now be less certain.”

“But I am also frustrated on their behalf,” she said. “DACA was
never more than deferred action—a bureaucratic delay—that never
promised the rights of citizenship or legal status in this
country. The program did not grant recipients a future, it was
instead only a temporary delay until a day of likely expiration.
And for that reason, DACA was fundamentally a lie.”

Obama “had genuine intentions for DACA, and was clearly
frustrated by his inability to maneuver through the legislative
process,” she continued. “But a secretarial memo — even if
intended to be temporary — is not a substitute for a law passed
by Congress and signed by the president.”

She called on Congress to pass new legislation is it believes
“current laws do not reflect our country’s values,” and said
Homeland Security “would be glad” to work with Congress to help
them consider a solution.

“There is much wrong with our current immigration system — not
just DACA — and this is an opportunity to make it better, fairer,
and more beneficial for the nation,” she said. “What this
decision makes clear is that we are overdue for real answers. No
more stopgap measures, no more temporary options, and no more
kicking the tough decisions down the road in the hope they become
too painful to ignore for someone else.”

“We need to do this the right way,” she continued. “And we need
to do this now.”

In a statement released shortly after Sessions delivered his
address, Trump used language that was more similar to Sessions’
statement than Duke’s.

The president chose to focus on how DACA recipients were taking
jobs away from Americans and called for a similar limit on
immigration that his attorney general did.

He called for a solution that “puts the hardworking citizens of
our country first.”

“The decades-long failure of Washington, DC, to enforce federal
immigration law has had both predictable and tragic consequences:
lower wages and higher unemployment for American workers,
substantial burdens on local schools and hospitals, the illicit
entry of dangerous drugs and criminal cartels, and many billions
of dollars a year in costs paid for by U.S. taxpayers,” Trump
said. “Yet few in Washington expressed any compassion for the
millions of Americans victimized by this unfair system. Before we
ask what is fair to illegal immigrants, we must also ask what is
fair to American families, students, taxpayers, and jobseekers.”

Trump called for “the DACA issue” to be solves “with heart and
compassion” while “ensuring that any immigration reform we adopt
provides enduring benefits for the American citizens we were
elected to serve.”

“We must also have heart and compassion for unemployed,
struggling, and forgotten Americans,” he continued. “Above all
else, we must remember that young Americans have dreams too.
Being in government means setting priorities. Our first and
highest priority in advancing immigration reform must be to
improve jobs, wages and security for American workers and their
families. It is now time for Congress to act!”

Read Sessions’ full statement:

Good morning. I am here today to announce that the program known
as DACA 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, work
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 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 Branch.

The effect of this unilateral executive amnesty, among other
things, contributed to a surge of unaccompanied minors on the
southern border that yielded terrible humanitarian consequences.
It also denied jobs to hundreds of thousands of Americans by
allowing those same jobs to go to illegal aliens.

We inherited from our Founders—and have advanced—an unsurpassed
legal heritage, which is the foundation of our freedom, safety,
and prosperity.

As the 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.
That is an open border policy and the American people have
rightly rejected it.

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 Administration’s
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 the DAPA program, which was enjoined
on a nationwide basis in a decision affirmed by the Fifth
Circuit.

The Fifth Circuit specifically concluded that DACA had not been
implemented in a fashion that allowed sufficient discretion, and
that DAPA was “foreclosed by Congress’s careful plan.”

In other words, it was inconsistent with the Constitution’s
separation of powers. That decision was affirmed by the Supreme
Court by an equally divided vote.

If we were to keep the Obama Administration’s executive amnesty
policy, the likeliest outcome is that it would be enjoined just
as was DAPA. The Department of Justice has advised the President
and the Department of Homeland Security that DHS 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 DHS 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 path.

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 type of 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 these policies.

He said: “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 but destabilizes the
tripartite system as a whole.”

Ending the previous Administration’s 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 government’s
leaders to fulfill their promises and advance an immigration
policy that serves the national interest.

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.

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
and even terrorism.

The compassionate thing is to 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 interest of the nation.

That is what the President has promised to do and has delivered
to the American people.

Under President Trump’s 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
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 the product of
the leadership of President Trump and his inspired federal
immigration officers. But the problem is not 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 our
national security, ensure the public safety, and increase the
general well-being of the American people.

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. This is how our democratic process
works.

There are many powerful interest groups in this 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 charge.

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.

And read Duke’s full statement:

This Administration’s decision to terminate DACA was not taken
lightly. The Department of Justice has carefully evaluated the
program’s Constitutionality and determined it conflicts with our
existing immigration laws. Given the Supreme Court’s decision on
DAPA, they do not believe DACA is legally viable, and thus the
program should be ended.

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. The Administration
choose the least disruptive option.

I am very aware of the consequences of this action, and I
sympathize with the DACA recipients whose futures may now be less
certain. But I am also frustrated on their behalf. DACA was never
more than deferred action—a bureaucratic delay—that never
promised the rights of citizenship or legal status in this
country. The program did not grant recipients a future, it was
instead only a temporary delay until a day of likely expiration.
And for that reason, DACA was fundamentally a lie.

I believe President Obama had genuine intentions for DACA, and
was clearly frustrated by his inability to maneuver through the
legislative process. But a Secretarial memo – even if intended to
be temporary – is not a substitute for a law passed by Congress
and signed by the President.

For several years before becoming the Acting Secretary, I taught
civics to people who were going through the naturalization
process. I taught them the principles of American democracy, like
the three branches of government, the separation of powers, and
how our system of checks and balances works.

I taught them that the Constitution was the supreme law of the
land.

And I taught them the rule of law: How everyone in our country
must follow the law, no matter who they are.

The DACA program violates those basic civics lessons that are
fundamental to our country and our citizens.

It is a dangerous precedent to systematically ignore the law,
regardless of one’s intent or purpose. It is also dangerous to
encourage and reward illegal immigration.

We must find a better way. And we must do so within the
Constitution of the United States.

If our current laws do not reflect our country’s values, then I
urge Congress to use its Constitutional authority to write and
pass legislation that does. I believe the President shares my
confidence in the Congress.

DHS would be glad to provide Congress with data and information
to help them consider the situation, and find a legislative
solution. There is much wrong with our current immigration
system—not just DACA—and this is an opportunity to make it
better, fairer, and more beneficial for the nation.

What this decision makes clear is that we are overdue for real
answers. No more stopgap measures, no more temporary options, and
no more kicking the tough decisions down the road in the hope
they become too painful to ignore for someone else.

We need to do this the right way. And we need to do this now.