Uh Oh: DHS Secretary Kelly Says DACA May Not Survive Court Challenges

And he won’t commit to defending the law in court

(Politico) An Obama-era deportation relief program may soon face a legal challenge — and the Trump administration won’t commit to defending it, Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly told Hispanic lawmakers at a closed-door meeting Wednesday on Capitol Hill.

Twenty Democratic members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus pressed Kelly for assurances that he would help preserve the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which grants deportation relief and access to work permits to undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. at a young age.

Kelly told the lawmakers that although he personally supports DACA, he can’t guarantee that the administration would defend it in court. He also said that he’d consulted attorneys who told him the program wouldn’t survive a legal challenge.

“It’s not a pretty picture,” Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), who attended the meeting, told reporters. “The legal authorities that he’s spoken to suggest that DACA cannot be sustained legally. We have a different view.”

The legal challenge that’s being referred to

But a DHS spokesman followed up that web posting by stating, “The future of the DACA program continues to be under review.” Then, in late June, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and his counterparts from nine other Republican-led states sent a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions that demanded the Trump administration rescind the program. If not, the coalition threatened, it would amend an ongoing lawsuit against another deportation relief program to target DACA as well. Such a move would compel the Trump administration to clarify a position on DACA that it’s preferred to keep vague.

DACA really has no basis in federal law. The Supreme Court essentially upheld a lower court ruling that disallowed the expansion of DACA when Obama was sued by 25 states. As Representative Steve King stated “The point here is … the President does not have the authority to waive immigration law, nor does he have the authority to create it out of thin air, and he’s done both with these Morton memos in this respect.”

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