*U.S. Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions – who has long fought legal status for undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children, through no fault of their own – on Tuesday announced the Trump administration would rescind former President Barack Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy, calling the order “unconstitutional.”

“To have a lawful system of immigration, we cannot admit everyone who wants to come here. It’s just that simple,” Sessions said during a speech Tuesday morning, adding the policy’s removal would make the U.S. safer and more secure. “Ending the previous administration’s disrespect for the legal process is an important first step.”

Obama’s executive order in June 2012 suspended the deportation of young undocumented immigrants and allowed them to apply for temporary legal status—a move that irked Sessions. “There is no question that the administration’s unilaterally decreed policy is contrary to codified federal law and places our law enforcement officers in an untenable position,” Sessions wrote in a letter later that year, according to The New York Times.

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions speaks on immigration at the Justice Department September 5, 2017 in Washington, DC.

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions speaks on immigration at the Justice Department September 5, 2017 in Washington, DC.

Obama had sought to get approval of the Dream Act before the end of the lame-duck Congress in 2010. But the bill faced strong opposition from Republicans and some Democrats, with then-Senator Sessions writing a “Dear Colleague” letter to fellow senators on December 2 that attacked the bill.

“The DREAM Act would force jobless Americans to compete with millions of newly authorized workers, provide legal shelter for criminal aliens, and strain limited resources through generous grants of federal education benefits,” Sessions wrote, according to a copy of the letter obtained by Politico. “Congress would be sending a message that we have effectively given up on enforcement of our immigration laws and instead seek to reward those who illegally enter the country.”

During the Senate vote about two weeks later, the bill fell five votes short of passing. Sessions reportedly said afterward: “This bill is a law that at its fundamental core is a reward for illegal activity.”

President Trump announced his displeasure with DACA on Tuesday morning in language that mirrored what Sessions wrote in his 2010 letter. “We are a nation of laws. No longer will we incentivize illegal immigration,” the president wrote on Twitter. Make no mistake, we are going to put the interest of AMERICAN CITIZENS FIRST!”

Protests against Trump are already underway at the White House and at Trump Tower, with some arrests reported. Also, immediate reaction to Sessions’ speech are being shared on social media.

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