Attorney general Jeff Sessions this week defended his decision to bring an end to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, saying he advised President Trump to reverse the order because there was no reasonable legal defense for it that could be mounted by the Justice Department.
Sessions, knowing there was an avalanche of lawsuits headed for the administration from the states, told the Federalist Society that he had no choice but to recommend the immediate termination of what many called “executive amnesty.”
In his speech, Sessions said, “No Cabinet Secretary has the power, through guidance, letters, or otherwise, to wipe entire sections of immigration law. But that’s what the previous administration did with its Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals – or DACA – policy.
“Under DACA—without the consent of Congress—individuals here illegally who met certain criteria were granted not only lawful presence but work authorization, and the right to participate in Social Security, which unlawful immigrants are not entitled to have,” Sessions continued. “So no matter what one thinks about the immigration issues and policy, it cannot be defended in my opinion lawfully.”
Sessions has not weighed in forcefully on the matter now before Congress, which is whether or not to change U.S. immigration law in such a way that DACA recipients would be granted some form of permanent amnesty. However, one can get an idea about where he might stand on the matter from some of his testimony before Congress last week. In an exchange with Sen. Steve King (R-IA) – an avowed opponent of amnesty if there ever was one – Sessions said that Congress should, at the very least, proceed with caution.
“There’s a lot of public dialogue about what kind of legislation might we pass in conjunction with a DACA policy and that’s up in the air right now,” King said. “I’m noticing the Democrats are saying we’re going to have everything we want on DACA or we’ll shut the government down. So it causes me to think about what should happen if Congress reaches an impasse and there is no passage of any legislation to extend the DACA policy. If the President should decide on or before that March 5 date or around that time that he wants to extend the DACA policy, what would your position be at that time?”
“Well, that’s hypothetical Senator King. I don’t think I should speculate on that. But I do think Congress will have to give it thought. We have a law now, it’s in place as Congress passed and Congress would have to change it,” Sessions said. Later, he added: “Something is lost whenever you provide an amnesty. A price will be paid if that’s done. But sometimes circumstances are such that it may need to be done, but we need to be careful.”
Careful, indeed, because Sessions could not be more right. A price WILL be paid for congressional amnesty, just as we are already paying a price for the “executive amnesty” that Obama illegally provided to these people. We’re essentially setting up a situation where we say: Well, if enough people break a law, then it’s not really the law anymore. That’s preposterous and unconstitutional. It’s anarchy.
If Democrats are willing to give the Trump administration a Wall, then, hey, maybe we can open a dialogue. But to grant amnesty to these Dreamers for nothing more than some vague promises about heightened border security? Nuh-uh. There WILL be a price to be paid for that kind of surrender. Both at the border…and at the ballot box.