Federal judge orders Trump administration release legal rationale for DACA repeal

Protesters.
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On Tuesday, a federal judge acted in a lawsuit filed by the Regents of the University of California and former Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, ordering the Trump administration to hand over documents related to its decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) immigration program.

In September, the Justice Department released a one-page opinion authored by Attorney General Jeff Sessions that claimed DACA was "unconstitutional" and "an open-ended circumvention of immigration laws." Acting Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke then rescinded the memo that created DACA in June 2012; the program allowed undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. illegally at a young age some legal protections. U.S. District Judge William Alsup ruled that if the Trump administration believed DACA was unconstitutional, the lawsuit's plaintiffs "are entitled to challenge whether this was a reasonable legal position and thus reasonable basis for rescission."

Alsup's order also demanded the administration provide all materials that were considered by White House Chief of Staff John Kelly when he released a memo in February, while he was still in his capacity as homeland security secretary, that kept DACA intact.

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Over the past year, President Trump has given conflicting statements on his support for the DACA program. As recently as September, Trump had come to a bipartisan deal with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to protect the so-called DREAMers, but a recent phone call with Fox News host Sean Hannity reportedly pushed Trump to take a harder line on immigration enforcement.

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