President Trump's decision to do away with the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA program, is drawing praise and condemnation.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions says the Obama-era initiative is unconstitutional because of the way President Obama put it in place.
And former President Obama launched it because he said Congress wouldn't act to help so-called Dreamers.
"The policy was adopted unilaterally, to great controversy and legal concern," said Sessions.
In a news conference Tuesday, Sessions questioned the way President Obama put DACA in place in 2012--through executive order.
"The executive branch, through DACA, deliberately sought to achieve what the legislative branch specifically refused to authorize on multiple occasions," said Sessions.
That's why President Trump decided to do away with a program that allows nearly 800,000 illegal immigrants to work and study in the U.S. without fear of deportation.
"Such an open ended circumvention of immigration laws was a unconstitutional exercise of authority by the executive branch," said Sessions.
But Knoxville immigration attorney Jeremy Jennings disagrees.
"I think the constitutionality of the measure is still very much in question," said Jennings.
In June of 2016, the Supreme Court evenly split on a ruling in Texas V. United States.
The ruling upheld a Texas lower court's decision that DACA was indeed unconstitutional.
"The state of Texas cherry picked its jurisdiction," said Jennings. "The fifth circuit is, if not the most conservative, certainly one of the most conservative districts in the nation."
He, along with Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam, hope Congress can find a replacement for the program quickly.
Former President Obama called President Trump's decision cruel.
"To target these young people is wrong — because they have done nothing wrong," said Obama. "It is self-defeating — because they want to start new businesses, staff our labs, serve in our military, and otherwise contribute to the country we love."
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