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Rutledge Calls on Trump Administration to Phase Out Unlawful DACA Program

Letter does not ask for deportations or for current permits to be rescinded

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge, along with nine other state attorneys general and the Governor of Idaho, sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions urging the Trump Administration to phase out the unlawful Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) program, which was put in place by President Barack Obama. DACA confers lawful presence and work permits for nearly one million unlawfully present aliens in the United States.

“There is no way around it: DACA is an unlawful program that must be phased out,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “I am not asking the government to remove any person currently covered by DACA or for the Administration to rescind DACA permits that have already been issued – this is about upholding the rule of law. Even former President Obama acknowledged many times that he did not have authority to unilaterally grant this type of legal status to over one million aliens.”

Earlier this month, the U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security revoked a 2014 memorandum that created the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA) program, which was blocked by courts after Rutledge and a multi-state coalition challenged DAPA all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. But the Secretary of Homeland Security’s recent memorandum stated that DACA would remain in effect, along with some permits that had been issued under the 2014 memorandum that had been rescinded.

In the letter, the multi-state coalition urges the Secretary of Homeland Security to phase out the DACA program by rescinding the 2012 DACA memorandum and ensuring that no new DACA permits are issued and no existing DACA permits are renewed in the future.

“We respectfully request that the Secretary of Homeland Security phase out the DACA program,” the letter states. “Just like DAPA, DACA unilaterally confers eligibility for work authorization and lawful presence without any statutory authorization from Congress.”

Rutledge and the coalition promised to voluntarily dismiss their lawsuit challenging unlawful deferred-action programs currently pending in district court if the Trump Administration agrees by Sept. 5 to rescind DACA and not renew or issue any new DACA permits in the future. “Otherwise, the complaint in that case will be amended to challenge both the DACA program and the remaining Expanded DACA permits,” the letter states.

Arkansas joined a lawsuit in December 2014, at the request of then Attorney General-elect Rutledge, against the Obama administration that successfully put DAPA on hold as the case worked its way through the courts. Following a win in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit affirmed the district court’s decision. And ultimately, the president’s unilateral immigration policies were blocked by the U.S. Supreme Court last year.

Rutledge joined the letter signed by the attorneys general of Alabama, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Nebraska, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, West Virginia and Idaho Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter.

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