About 100 immigration law professors signed a letter to President Trump arguing “that the executive branch has legal authority to implement” the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. DACA, which was established by President Obama in 2012, has extended temporary protection from deportation and the right to work to hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children, including many college students.
The letter from the professors comes as the Trump administration weighs a threat from 10 Republican attorneys general who have said they will sue the Trump administration over the program if it does not agree by Sept. 5 to phase it out. The Republican attorneys general argue that the program is unlawful because the president does not have unilateral authority to implement it without approval from Congress. Trump himself described the DACA program as “illegal executive amnesty” during the campaign, but has softened his tone since his election, expressing sympathy for DACA recipients while stopping short of any commitment to continue the program.
"In our view, there is no question that DACA 2012 is a lawful exercise of prosecutorial discretion," the professors wrote. "Our conclusions are based on years of experience in the field and a close study of the U.S. Constitution, administrative law, immigration statutes, federal regulations and case law." Their full letter is available here.