Washington — Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf said Sunday his agency will continue the Obama-era program that shields young immigrants from the threat of deportation in the wake of the Supreme Court's ruling this week blocking the Trump administration from ending it.
"We'll continue the program as we have over the past two years, continuing to renew those," Wolf said on "Face the Nation," referring to work visas for immigrants who benefit from the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. "The president has been very clear about wanting to find a lasting solution for these individuals."
Wolf said President Trump has also directed the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to examine its rationale for rescinding DACA and craft a more reasoned explanation to unwind the program, one which would pass legal muster.
The Trump administration suffered a significant loss at the Supreme Court this week as the high court ruled 5-4 that the decision to wind down the DACA program was unlawful.
In the wake of the ruling, the president made it clear he plans to attempt to end the Obama-era program once more, tweeting Friday that his administration "will be submitting enhanced papers shortly in order to properly fulfill the Supreme Court's ruling." In its decision last week, the high court addressed only whether the Department of Homeland Security complied with federal law when it provided its reason for rolling back DACA and did not decide whether the program or its rescission "are sound policies."
Wolf stressed that the Trump administration believes DACA is unlawful and that DHS has the ability to unwind the program.
"What they didn't like was the rationale and the way in which we proposed to do that," he said of the Supreme Court.
The DACA program was created by executive action from former President Barack Obama in 2012 and provides legal protections for young immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as children. Mr. Trump vowed during the 2016 presidential campaign to end the program if elected, and he moved to do so in September 2017, giving Congress a six-month window to codify DACA's protections into law.
But Congress was unable to reach consensus on a broader immigration package, leaving the fate of roughly 700,000 so-called Dreamers in the balance while legal challenges to Mr. Trump's attempt to end DACA moved through the courts.
Wolf accused the Obama administration of creating DACA "out of thin air" without providing enough time for the American people to weigh in "on such a monumental decision."
"I don't have the luxury of ignoring the law and running a program that's unlawful," he said. "So what the president has been very clear about is asking Congress to find a solution for these individuals. Congress is the appropriate entity to do that, not the executive branch."