Ever since President Obama signed DACA, The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, it has received constant beratement from Republicans and conservative activists. One of the most common criticisms of DACA is that President Obama did not have the legal right to sign it.
DACA is essentially immigration policy, something the White House does not possess the power to make. Congress is explicitly given the power to legislate immigration policy in Article 1 Section 8 of the Constitution. No such power is given to the Executive. This is a point that President Trump has emphasized multiple times, most recently tweeting, “President Obama never had the legal right to sign DACA, and he indicated so at the time of signing. But In any event, how can he have the right to sign and I don’t have the right to ‘unsigned.’ Totally illegal document which would actually give the President new powers.”
The President also tweeted, “The Immigration Law Institute’s Christopher Hajec says, ‘The Supreme Court has to look st whether DACA is lawful. What they are looking at now is whether Trump’s recision of DACA is lawful. Must consider lawfulness of DACA itself. Looks very odd that President Trump doesn’t have the discretion to end the program that President Obama began in his discretion. That program was unlawful to begin with. I think it’s very unlikely that the SCOTUS is going to issue an order reinstating what it believes is an unlawful program. DACA Is unlawful,’” In response to a report by the Immigration Law Institute’s Christopher Hajec that claimed President Obama’s actions were illegal.
President Trump campaigned on ending DACA, something that has proven extremely difficult. In 2017 the President released a plan to phase out the program, but was blocked by the federal courts. The case is now heading to the Supreme Court and will be heard in October. In response to this President Trump tweeted, “DACA will be going before the Supreme Court. It is a document that even President Obama didn’t feel he had the legal right to sign – he signed it anyway! Rest assured that if the SC does what all say it must, based on the law, a bipartisan deal will be made to the benefit of all!”
DACA’s fate is currently up in the air. President Trump is confident the Supreme Court will rule in his favor, and they very well might. The court’s conservative lean could be enough to secure a huge victory for the president. However, the Supreme Court has been reluctant to touch the topic. In February of 2018 the Supreme Court refused to hear the White House’s appeal to a lower court ruling prohibiting the president from suspending the program. Although, this ruling came before Justice Brett Kavanaugh replaced Justice Anthony Kennedy and secured a conservative majority on the court.
Whatever the outcome, this case will likely be a defining moment for the Trump administration, and could effect the President’s 2020 reelection as the court’s decision will likely be released in early to mid 2020.