President Donald J. Trump Restores Responsibility and the Rule of Law to Immigration
“I believe that real and positive immigration reform is possible, as long as we focus on the following goals: To improve jobs and wages for Americans; to strengthen our nation's security; and to restore respect for our laws.” – President Donald J. Trump
RESPONSIBLY ENDING UNLAWFUL IMMIGRATION POLICY: Today, the Trump Administration is rescinding the previous Administration’s memorandum creating the unlawful Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and has begun to end the program responsibly.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions sent a letter to the Department of Homeland Security explaining that DACA was not statutorily authorized and was therefore an unconstitutional exercise of discretion by the executive branch.
- Attorney General Sessions found that DACA, given pending litigation, would likely face the same outcome as the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) program, which was enjoined by the courts.
The Trump Administration is taking responsible action to wind down DACA in an orderly and minimally disruptive manner.
If President Trump allowed DACA to go to court, it is likely that the court would abruptly enjoin the program.
- If President Trump had refused to act, many States were prepared to pursue litigation to end DACA by court order.
- Under the change announced today, current DACA recipients generally will not be impacted until after March 5, 2018, six months from now. That period of time gives Congress the opportunity to consider appropriate legislative solutions.
- If President Trump allowed DACA to go to court, it is likely that the court would abruptly enjoin the program.
DHS’s enforcement priorities remain in place. However, absent a law enforcement interest—which is largely the standard that has been in place since the inception of the program—the Department will generally not take actions to remove active DACA recipients.
- DACA recipients range from ages 15 to 36, with the overwhelming majority being of adult age.
Initial requests for Employment Authorization Documents under DACA properly filed and accepted through today will be processed.
- Additional DACA initial applications filed after today will not be accepted.
Renewal applications for DACA Employment Authorization Documents properly filed and accepted by October 5, 2017, for people whose current Employment Authorization Documents expire between today and March 5, 2018, will be processed.
- Any such requests filed after October 5, 2017 will not be accepted.
Currently approved applications for advance parole for DACA recipients will generally be honored, but new applications will not be approved.
- All pending applications for advance parole by DACA recipients will be closed and associated fees will be refunded.
RESTORING LAW AND ORDER TO OUR IMMIGRATION SYSTEM: The DACA program was never intended to be permanent—even President Obama admitted it was a temporary, extraordinary measure. And President Obama repeatedly recognized that such unilateral actions were in excess of the Executive’s appropriate role.
President Obama admitted publicly on at least a 22 occasions that creating a DACA-like program was beyond his authority. President Obama said:
- In 2011, that “there are enough laws on the books by Congress that are very clear in terms of how we have to enforce our immigration system that for me to simply through Executive order ignore those congressional mandates would not conform with my appropriate role as President.”
- In 2010, that providing people in America illegally with legal status and ignoring the laws on the books “would be both unwise and unfair.”
- President Obama admitted in 2012 that DACA, implemented in an election year, was “a temporary stopgap measure.”
Partly because of DACA, the United States saw a surge in illegal immigration by minors in 2013-2014, because they hoped to take advantage of the program.
- President Obama knew this would be a problem, admitting in 2010 that a DACA-like policy “could lead to a surge in illegal immigration.”
President Trump refuses to allow criminal activity to dominate our immigration system, taking action to restore the law and protect all Americans.
One of President Trump’s first Executive orders informed sanctuary jurisdictions that failure to fully abide by Federal immigration laws would jeopardize access to certain Federal grant money.
- As a result, Miami-Dade County reversed its years-long sanctuary policy.
- The DOJ issued new charging guidelines in April to bring to an end the previous Administration’s catch-and-release policies by prioritizing criminal immigration enforcement.
- Since President Trump’s inauguration, illegal immigration on the southwest border is down by 47 percent compared to the same period last year.
- Illegal alien removals resulting from to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) arrests have increased by over 32 percent.
- So far in Fiscal Year 2017, ICE has arrested at least 3,641 criminal gang members compared to 2,057 criminal gang members in all of Fiscal Year 2016.
- One of President Trump’s first Executive orders informed sanctuary jurisdictions that failure to fully abide by Federal immigration laws would jeopardize access to certain Federal grant money.
REFORMING IMMIGRATION TO MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN: DACA made it impossible for President Trump to pursue the reforms needed to restore fairness to our immigration system and protect American workers.
President Trump’s highest obligation is to uphold the laws of the United States. So long as the unlawful policies of the previous Administration remain—especially those that incentivize further illegal immigration—there is no realistic chance of achieving principled pro-worker immigration reform. His priorities include:
- Controlling the Border: President Trump intends to secure the southwest border with a border wall and a robust law enforcement presence on the border.
- Improving Vetting and Immigration Security: Our immigration system, including our asylum and refugee system, make the United States potentially exposed to terrorist and public safety threats. We need to improve vetting and set limits that allow for proper vetting.
- Enforcing Our Laws: President Trump supports the swift removal of those who illegally enter the United States or violate the conditions of their visas.
- Protecting Our Workers: President Trump is working to encourage companies to raise wages and recruit American workers. This means stopping the practice of hiring illegal workers who unlawfully deprive American workers of jobs and higher wages.
- Establishing a Merit-Based System for Entry: President Trump supports efforts to prioritize immigrants based on skills and thereby prevent the displacement of American workers.