- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 17, 2017

The Trump administration can’t even agree on which agency was responsible for officially ending the Obama-era deportation amnesty for Dreamers, a federal judge ruled Tuesday, as he ordered the government to disclose more documents about how the decision was reached.

Anti-Trump state officials in New York and California, as well as immigrant-rights activists in both states, seek the documents as they fight to preserve the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

They won victories in courts in both New York and California on Tuesday, with Clinton-appointed judges issuing separate rulings ordering the Trump administration to turn over far more information about the decision-making than it has done so to date.

All emails, news clippings, memos, letters, notes and other documents seen by acting Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke, anyone who advised her on last month’s DACA decision and even material related to former Secretary John F. Kelly’s decision not to revoke DACA earlier in the year, must be turned over, Judge William Alsup ruled from his courtroom in California.

He said that applies not only to the Homeland Security but also to Justice Department or White House officials who may have weighed in.

Across the country in New York, Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis also ruled that Justice Department information must be released, rejecting administration efforts to limit the record only to Homeland Security.

He said the government has been confused as to whether it was Ms. Duke or Attorney General Jeff Sessions who actually triggered the phaseout of the DACA policy. While Ms. Duke rescinded an Obama-era memo establishing the program, it was based on legal advice from Mr. Sessions who said DACA was illegal and likely to be struck down in the courts.

Judge Garaufis, who had previously described Mr. Trump’s DACA decision as “cruel,” said the administration has given “conflicting statements about which agencies were responsible for ending the DACA program.”

DACA is currently protecting nearly 700,000 young adult illegal immigrant “Dreamers” from deportation and granting them a work permit, entitling them to some taxpayer benefits.

Mr. Trump, concluding the program is illegal, has ordered a phase-out but challenged Congress to come up with a permanent solution by passing a law.

The battle over documents puts Mr. Trump in the same position that the Obama administration regularly faced, with conservative critics demanding more transparency on everything from environmental decision-making to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s secret emails.

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