- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 16, 2018

President Trump does not have the legal authority to extend the Obama-era DACA deportation amnesty beyond the March 5 phaseout deadline he set, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said Tuesday.

She said there are no plans to attempt it, and the Justice Department has said “such exercise is unconstitutional.”

Mr. Trump had hinted last year that he might extend the March 5 phaseout if Congress couldn’t agree on a solution to grant illegal immigrant “Dreamers” a permanent status. Some Republicans in Congress have also said they’ll look to the president to do that.

“We may need the president to back off the timeline if we cannot an agreement,” Rep. Charlie Dent told CNN on Monday, though he added, “there is simply no reason why we cannot get an agreement.”

Homeland Security has begun to re-start the DACA program after a federal court in California said the original decision by the Obama administration to create the DACA deportation amnesty was legal, but the Trump administration’s decision to phase it out was illegal.

• Stephen Dinan can be reached at sdinan@washingtontimes.com.

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