The DACA program being terminated by AG Sessions was a Federal program started by President Obama. The program was promoted as an administrative strategy to provide eligible youth relief from deportation. Since the entire issue has been clouded with political rhetoric it’s important to look at its legal and constitutional status.
The DACA program was started when on November 20, 2014 President Obama issued an Executive Order. It’s important to note that the US Constitution does not allow any president to set immigration policy. Since the DACA EO was directed to delay deportation of illegal immigrants it clearly falls under the authority of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, and those Federal rules can only be passed by Congress. The Constitution clearly states in Article I Section 8 clause 3 that only the Congress shall have power “To establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization.” It further states that all legislative powers shall reside in Congress, which shall be composed of a House of Representatives and a Senate.
The power to establish any rules regarding immigration do not reside in the office of President and never have. So, at this point the question is moot: President Obama did not have any authority to issue a DACA order through any “executive action.”
President Obama himself stated twenty-two times that he has no authority over issues of immigration. This then means he can’t unilaterally change any immigration laws. But President Obama’s entire presidency was an exercise in executive overreach, and several of the changes he made to immigration law were overturned by the Supreme Court.
It’s important to understand that whether or not one agrees with what President Obama does about immigration is irrelevant: he has no authority under the Constitution to write or rewrite, or amend, the rules of immigration passed by Congress such as the 1996 Illegal Reform and Immigration Responsibility Act. What President Obama frequently did during his presidency was go around Congress and write his own laws by changing the application of existing law through new regulations and rules. He has no more authority to change laws through bureaucratic rule changes than he does to pass a law.