Sessions: Administration is not targeting ‘Dreamers’

Sessions: Administration is not targeting ‘Dreamers’
© Victoria Sarno Jordan

Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsStopping Robert Mueller to protect us all Chris Christie compares Mueller investigation to 'Bridgegate' probe Oakland mayor fires back at Trump: ‘It’s my duty to protect my residents’ MORE denied Wednesday that Dreamers — undocumented immigrants given special protection from deportation by the Obama administration — are being targeted by law enforcement.

Sessions's comments to Fox News come one day after reports that the Trump administration had deported the first of these immigrants in February. 

But Sessions denied that those who enrolled in the Obama administration's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program are being specifically targeted.

"DACA enrollees are not being targeted. I don’t know why this individual was picked up," Sessions said. 

He went on to add that ending "lawlessness at the border," stemming illegal immigration and deporting criminals are the administration's top priorities. And he emphasized that "everybody in the country illegally is subject to being deported." 

"We are the most generous nation in the world, but we have got to restore lawfulness to the system," Sessions added. 

President Trump ran on a platform of ending DACA, which gives those brought to America illegally as children the opportunity to apply for a deportation reprieve, on his first day in office. But almost 100 days into his term, the program still remains on the books. 

It's unclear whether Juan Manuel Montes, the 23-year-old who sued the government after his deportation, qualified under the program. The National Immigration Law Center, which is helping with his case, says he was approved under the DACA program, but Fox News reported that his permit expired in 2015 and wasn't renewed after a theft conviction. 

A spokeswoman for the Department of Homeland Security said border patrol agents arrested Montes after he illegally climbed over a border fence into Calexico, Calif., on Feb. 19.

Sessions made his name in Congress as one of the more hawkish lawmakers on clamping down on immigration, both illegal and legal. He became a close confidant of Trump in the early stages of the campaign and the future president embraced those ideas throughout his campaign.