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Justice Department Vies to Block Judge from Revealing Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Documents

— December 3, 2017

The Trump administration is asking the Supreme Court to block an order related to its decision to close down the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program in September.

The request comes after a judge demand that the government put together documents and memos related to DACA’s rescinding. reports that the Justice Department is leading efforts to thwart San Francisco-based Judge William Alsup’s orders. Agency representatives claim that a comprehensive review of government papers could threaten the confidentiality of executive branch deliberations.

Moreover, the Department of Justice apparently considers Alsup’s demand to be a potential waste of federal resources. Over 1.6 million documents tangentially or totally related to DACA could fall under the order’s purview.

“The White House, DHS, and DOJ will have been required to collect, review, and make privilege determinations as to thousands of additional documents; numerous deliberative materials will have been made public; various privileges, including executive privilege, will have been breached based on the district court’s existing erroneous privilege rulings (and any more that follow); and high-ranking government officials will have been deposed,” reports that Solicitor General Noel Francisco wrote in a stay application handed to the Supreme Court. “Even if subsequently narrowed, further discovery is extremely likely to impose considerable burdens and thereby impair the performance of other essential DHS and DOJ functions.”

To date, the Department of Justice has only filed an ‘administrative record’ of 256 pages related to the president’s decision to terminate DACA.

Wendolynn Perez, 23, second from left, a DACA recipient who is now a permanent resident and is originally from Peru, chants with other supporters of immigration reform outside the White House. | Jacquelyn Martin/AP Photo. (image and caption via

None of the documents are new – they’ve been available for public perusing for months.

Challenging Judge Alsup, the solicitor general is trying to skew the order as unfair.

His resistance – reflective, to some extent, of the Trump administration’s position on immigration – has caught the attention of some state attorneys general.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra wondered aloud whether the Department of Justice was trying to mask slight of hand.

“The Trump administration continues to refuse to release records that would shed light on its decision to rescind DACA, asking court after court to give it a free pass, so it can keep the information underlying its decision secret. What is the Trump administration trying so hard to hide?” asked Becerra, who Politico reports is spearheading one of several lawsuits intended to retrieve DACA documents.

The position taken by the administration – as well as U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions – is that DACA was created unconstitutionally by former President Barack Obama.

While Trump had shown some sympathy for DACA recipients in the past, he was forced to make a decision on the future of its beneficiaries.

Some eleven conservative state attorneys general threatened to sue the federal government if DACA was continued, with Sessions advising their effort was likely to succeed.

Despite making promises intended to reassure former DACA beneficiaries, the president has since taken a harsh stance on their future, using their tenuous situation to try bullying Congress into funding his border wall.


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Trump administration takes DACA documents fight to Supreme Court

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