Attorney General Jeff Sessions may have been the key voice in persuading President Trump to end the Obama-era executive action that granted amnesty to illegal immigrants brought to the U.S. as children.
This would constitute a stunning turnaround for the once-besieged AG, who appeared to be on his way out of the administration just months ago.
Politico reported late Sunday that Trump had made the decision, slated to be announced Tuesday, to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) in the face of significant opposition from the mainstream media, Democrats, and even some Republicans lawmakers.
Republicans had repeatedly pledged to end what had been commonly described as one of “Obama’s illegal executive orders” but, as with their promise to end Obamacare, had winced as it came to following through
Even Trump himself, who had campaigned on ending DACA, had seemed to wobble on repealing the executive order, telling reporters Friday: “We love the Dreamers, we love everyone.” Multiple outlets reported that Trump had agonized over the decision, aware that many of the “Dreamers” had not entered the country illegally by their own choice.
But Politico reports that Sessions — who had at one point seemed on his way out of the administration amid a torrent of criticism from the president over his decision to recuse himself from investigations into alleged Russian interference in the election — may have been the deciding factor.
Conversations with Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who argued that Congress — rather than the executive branch — is responsible for writing immigration law, helped persuade the president to terminate the program, the two sources said, though White House aides caution that — as with everything in the Trump White House — nothing is set in stone until an official announcement has been made.
Sessions is perhaps the most ideological conservative in the administration and was a notable hardliner on illegal immigration in the Senate.
“‘Immigration reform’ may be the single most abused phrase in the English language. It has become a legislative honorific almost exclusively reserved for proposals which benefit everyone but actual American citizens,” he wrote in a 2015 immigration handbook he delivered to all Republican members of Congress.
Yet despite Sessions’ strong conservative record, and his achievements in office so far, Trump launched into a series of public attacks on Sessions for his decision to recuse himself — leading to widespread speculation that Sessions would resign or be fired. Yet those attacks dwindled, and it is possible Sessions has been a key voice in killing DACA.
According to Politico, Trump has decided to delay enforcement by six months, therefore giving Congress a window to act if it so chooses. That move puts House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) in a tricky situation. Ryan opposed DACA when President Obama was in office, but in recent days has urged Trump not to overturn the order.