Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said Tuesday the Trump administration has no plans to push back the March 5 expiration date of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program because such a move would be unconstitutional.
Testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Nielsen said the administration was operating under legal guidance from the Department of Justice, which has argued that President Donald Trump doesn’t have the authority to revive DACA.
“I believe the attorney general has made it clear that he believes such exercise is unconstitutional,” she said in response GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham’s question about a possible extension. “It’s for Congress to fix.”
Nielsen’s remarks come as lawmakers are struggling to come to an agreement about the scope of a DACA replacement. Proposals by Republicans and Democrats diverge sharply on the even most basic aspects of a deal, including how many illegal immigrants would be covered and what changes to immigration law or border security would be included in the legislation.
The White House is demanding funding for the border wall, limits on chain migration and the end to the diversity visa lottery as a part of any agreement to give legal status to DACA recipients. Democrats have thus far refused to consider any of those demands, pushing instead for passage of the Dream Act coupled with unspecified “border security” measures. (RELATED: McSally Says Dems Should ‘Get Over’ Idea Of Clean Dream Act [VIDEO])
“Not that I am aware of,” Nielsen said, when Graham asked if Trump was considering an executive order to extend DACA.
Last week, a U.S. district judge ordered immigration authorities to continue accepting renewal applications for DACA while various legal challenges to Trump’s order are worked out in the courts. Judge William Alsup said that former President Barack Obama’s creation of DACA was a proper exercise of presidential authority, but that Trump’s decision to cancel the program was illegal.
The Justice Department announced Tuesday it will appeal the district judge’s ruling to the Supreme Court.
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