President Donald Trump on Tuesday claimed he ended the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program to restore the balance of executive power.
Trump in a statement claimed he does “not favor punishing” undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as children and were granted legal protection by the program “for the actions of their parents.”
“But we must also recognize that we are nation of opportunity because we are a nation of laws,” he said. “The legislative branch, not the executive branch, writes these laws.”
Trump claimed that former President Barack Obama “bypassed Congress” to implement the program through an executive order.
Before winning the 2016 presidential election, Trump vocally and repeatedly criticized Obama for issuing executive orders, though by March Trump had signed more executive orders than Obama had by the same point in his first term.
“There can be no path to principled immigration reform if the executive branch is able to rewrite or nullify federal laws at will,” Trump, who signed not one but two executive orders barring citizens of a handful of majority-Muslim countries from entering the United States, said.
When both orders were challenged in court, Trump’s administration cited executive authority over immigration — the same power he claimed Obama overextended by enacting the DACA program — in their defense.
“In effect, I am not going to just cut DACA off, but rather provide a window of opportunity for Congress to finally act,” Trump said Tuesday. “I look forward to working with Republicans and Democrats in Congress to finally address all of these issues in a manner that puts the hardworking citizens of our country first.”