The Department of Homeland Security announced Tuesday morning its U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services agency will begin winding down the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program that was created by executive order in 2012, and rescinded on Tuesday by the Trump administration.
"This administration's decision to terminate DACA was not taken lightly. The Department of Justice has carefully evaluated the program's constitutionality and determined it conflicts with our existing immigration laws," said DHS Acting Secretary Elaine Duke.
"As a result of recent litigation, we were faced with two options: Wind the program down in an orderly fashion that protects beneficiaries in the near-term while working with Congress to pass legislation; or allow the judiciary to potentially shut the program down completely and immediately. We chose the least disruptive option."
Under the program, people under the age of 18 who were brought to the U.S. illegally can apply for deportation protection and work permits for two years at a time.
Under the closing procedures, DACA's beneficiaries will not be affected for six months until March 5. No new requests or renewals of the two-year permits will be reviewed.
The Trump administration has said that method of phasing out DACA will give Congress time to write legislation dealing with current DACA recipients, if it so chooses.
A group of 10 state attorneys general threatened in June to sue the Trump administration if it did not rescind DACA by Sept. 5.
Last Friday, Tennessee backed out of the coalition. The nine remaining states — Alabama, Arkansas, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Nebraska, South Carolina, Texas, and West Virginia — are being led by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton.
On Monday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions told Duke he has legally determined DACA "was effectuated by the previous administration through executive action, without proper statutory authority and with no established end-date, after Congress' repeated rejection of proposed legislation that would have accomplished a similar result."