On Tuesday, the Trump administration was ordered by a California judge to hand over documents, such as emails, letters and other materials which were part of the final decision to repeal the DACA program.
The judge’s order also includes legal advice about ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, under which undocumented immigrants, known as Dreamers, received work permits allowing them to stay in the country.
The order came as a result of several lawsuits over the rescission of DACA. The judge, William Alsup, noted that by stating the program was revoked on grounds of unconstitutionality, the Trump administration waived its attorney-client privilege and now has to disclose the deliberative documents which eventually led to the decision.
“Defendants argue that [the Department of Homeland Security] had to rescind DACA because it exceeded the lawful authority of the agency. They cannot, therefore, simultaneously refuse to disclose the legal research that led to that conclusion. Plaintiffs are entitled to challenge whether this was a reasonable legal position and thus reasonable basis for rescission,” Alsup wrote.
A one-page opinion by Attorney General Jeff Sessions was issued by the Department of Justice, claiming the program was “an open-ended circumvention of immigration laws,” but the judge dismissed it as insufficient.
The memo establishing DACA was rescinded in September by the secretary of homeland security Elaine Duke. Following the program’s termination, five lawsuits were filed demanding that documents relating to the decision be handed over.
Judge Alsup ordered the federal government on Tuesday to turn over the record of documents that DHS Secretary Duke used in making her final decision, including those by other government officials advising her.
In the meantime, Alsup also requested that documents used earlier by former DHS Secretary John Kelly were supplied as well. Namely, in February Kelly decided to leave the DACA program intact. The documents are to be provided by October 27 at the latest, Politico reports.