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Former President Barack Obama established the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Program five years ago with an executive order that granted temporary lawful status and work authorization to certain undocumented immigrants who had been brought to the United States as children.

This was not a good idea. It only provided temporary relief and applicants had to admit alienage, concede unlawful presence, and provide their addresses to establish eligibility for the program, which has made it very easy to find them and rush them through removal proceedings.

Instead of giving false hope to the young immigrants who participated in the program and heightening their risk of deportation, Obama should have worked on getting legislation passed that would have given them real lawful status and put them on a path to citizenship. Such bills are referred to as DREAM Acts, an acronym for “Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act.”

That still is the only option that makes any sense.

One of President Donald Trump’s campaign promises was that he would end DACA immediately if he were to be elected. He changed his mind after he was elected and allowed the program to continue.

But in June, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions asking him to phase out the DACA program. Paxton warned Sessions that if he would not agree to do this by September 5, 2017, a challenge to DACA would be added to a lawsuit that 26 states had filed in a federal district court to prevent the implementation of the very similar Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents, (DAPA) Program.

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Published originally on The Hill.

About the author.
Nolan Rappaport was detailed to the House Judiciary Committee as an executive branch immigration law expert for three years; he subsequently served as an immigration counsel for the Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security and Claims for four years. Prior to working on the Judiciary Committee, he wrote decisions for the Board of Immigration Appeals for 20 years.