Daniel Hemel: The Official Rationale for Trump’s DACA Phase-Out is Fatally Flawed

No Good Reason

The Trump administration announced on Tuesday that it would end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program because, according to Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the Department of Homeland Security lacks legal authority to continue carrying out the Obama-enacted policy. But it’s the Trump team—and not the Obama administration—that has bungled the legal analysis with respect to DACA. And as a result federal courts can, should, and likely will block Trump’s phase-out from taking effect.

The official explanation for why the administration is ending the program is startlingly incoherent. On the one hand, the Trump administration says that it cannot grant deferred action status to immigrants who arrived in the United States before age 16 because Congress has not authorized the practice. On the other hand, the administration says it will continue to renew deferrals for eligible immigrants who apply in the next month, thus allowing those immigrants to obtain work permits and remain in the country for another two years. How can the administration keep on doing what it says it lacks the statutory authority to do?

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