Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsTrump criticizes Justice for restoring McCabe's benefits McCabe wins back full FBI pension after being fired under Trump Overnight Hillicon Valley — Apple issues security update against spyware vulnerability MORE on Monday vowed to press forward with the Trump administration's efforts to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, despite a judge's ruling last week that it must be restored.
Sessions issued a lengthy statement pushing back against Judge John Bates, who ruled last Friday that the Trump administration failed to provide justification for its decision to end the Obama-era program, which allows immigrants who came to the U.S. illegally as children to remain here without fear of deportation.
"Not only did the Trump Administration have the authority to withdraw this guidance letter, it had a duty to do so," Sessions said in a statement.
Sessions argued that Bates was overstepping in his decision, equating it to dictating policy.
"The judicial branch has no power to eviscerate the lawful directives of Congress—nor to enjoin the executive branch from enforcing such mandates," Sessions said.
"We have recently witnessed a number of decisions in which courts have improperly used judicial power to steer, enjoin, modify, and direct executive policy," he added.
The Trump administration moved to unilaterally end DACA last year. The decision has since faced several legal challenges, with three separate judges ordering the administration to restore the program.
President TrumpDonald TrumpSix big off-year elections you might be missing Twitter suspends GOP Rep. Banks for misgendering trans health official Meghan McCain to Trump: 'Thanks for the publicity' MORE has repeatedly sought to pin the blame for the program's limbo on Democrats. However, three separate bipartisan measures and a White House-backed bill that addressed DACA all failed in the GOP-held Senate in February.
Sessions has been at the forefront of the president's crackdown on immigration, most notably when he rolled out a "zero tolerance" policy earlier this year that led to the separation of thousands of migrant children from their parents.
Trump later signed an executive order to halt the separations after claiming for days that only Congress could address the issue.