Conservatives across the country are reacting to President Donald Trump's decision to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, and their views are mixed.
Roughly 800,000 people have benefited from the program, which allows people who illegally came to the United States as children with their parents to stay if they meet certain criteria. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said Tuesday morning the policy will come to an end in six months.
Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn, R-Texas, said the policy had good intentions, but it should not have been implemented by executive orders in 2012 under former President Barack Obama.
"This policy, while well-intentioned, was implemented without the approval of Congress by a president who exceeded his authority under the Constitution," Cornyn said. "This president now has the chance to work with Congress towards finding a solution to this issue where his predecessor failed."
House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., had a similar take, saying the DACA policy was never a long-term solution and it is now up to Congress to come up with one.
"Congress writes laws, not the president, and ending this program fulfills a promise that President Trump made to restore the proper role of the executive and legislative branches," Ryan said. "But now there is more to do, and the president has called on Congress to act."
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., had a different opinion on the matter.
"President Trump's decision to eliminate DACA is the wrong approach to immigration policy at a time when both sides of the aisle need to come together to reform our broken immigration system and secure the border," McCain said. "I strongly believe that children who were illegally brought into this country through no fault of their own should not be forced to return to a country they do not know."
A sampling of other reactions from conservatives:
Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla.: "I have long supported accommodating those brought to this country illegally through no fault of their own; however, I have always felt that President Obama's executive action was unconstitutional and that the right way to address this issue was through legislation."
Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark.: "President Trump took a first step today toward cleaning up the mess that President Obama's unlawful amnesty left behind. President Trump is right that this amnesty would never have stood up in court. . . . Dealing with this problem is a legislative task, not an executive-branch task."
Rep. Raul Labrador, R-Idaho: "I have consistently opposed DACA, because it's an unconstitutional program that undermines the rule of law. President Obama did not have the authority to create DACA; only Congress could establish such a program. I applaud President Trump for respecting the Constitution and keeping a campaign promise."
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton: "I applaud President Trump for phasing out DACA. As the Texas-led coalition explained in our June letter, the Obama-era program went far beyond the executive branch's legitimate authority. Had former President Obama's unilateral order on DACA been left intact, it would have set a dangerous precedent by giving the executive branch sweeping authority to bypass Congress and change immigration laws."
Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash.: "I've long said I didn't agree with the way the previous administration went about enacting DACA, but we must protect children who are already here in this country and those who are currently protected under DACA. That principle is fundamental for me. It's also clear that we must work in Congress to provide long-term certainty for DACA recipients, like those here in Eastern Washington, and recognize their unique circumstances and the value they bring to the country as students, job-holders, members of the military, and members of society."
Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa: "However well-intentioned DACA may have been, the program was created by executive edict rather than by Congress as the Constitution requires. Because of President Obama's executive overreach, DACA has faced numerous legitimate legal challenges, and now President Trump has asked Congress to sort it out."
Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton: "Judicial Watch applauds the Trump administration's decision to rescind the Obama administration amnesty program for 800,000 illegal aliens. . . . President Trump's decision helps restore the rule of law and constitutional governance."
Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah: "DACA was an illegal abuse of executive power, and it's important to reaffirm that the president cannot unilaterally rewrite the law. Today's decision puts the ball in Congress' court to address the problem of the approximately three quarter million DACA participants, who originally came to the country as children. A balance between compassion and deterring future illegal immigration can be found."
Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa: "America has been and always will be a nation of immigrants, but we are also a nation of laws. However, many young undocumented children were brought here by parents, caretakers, and so forth through no fault of their own. As I have stated many times before, we must show compassion toward these children. While I do not support giving them citizenship, we must identify and pursue a measured approach that addresses their unique situation, but also respects the importance of our immigration laws and discourages future illegal immigration."
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky.:
Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah:
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.:
Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz.:
Rep. Claudia Tenney, R-N.Y.:
Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C.:
Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine:
Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill.:
Rep. John Shimkus, R-Ill.:
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