(CNSNews.com) - DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen told the House Homeland Security Committee on Thursday that the Department of Homeland Security is not required to take new applications for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program despite a federal judge’s ruling this week.
Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) asked Nielsen whether her department is taking new DACA applications, to which Nielsen replied: “We are not taking new applications right now, no ma’am.”
As CNSNews.com previously reported, a federal judge with the U.S. District Court of the District of Columbia ordered DHS to begin accepting DACA new applications, but the ruling won’t take effect until 90 days from the date of the ruling to give the administration more time to explain its reasoning behind canceling the program.
Jackson Lee asked Nielsen to respond to the committee in writing about a number of questions she had, including why the administration is ordering 4,000 unarmed National Guard troops to the U.S. border. The congresswoman also questioned Nielsen about how many black employees work at DHS.
REP. JACKSON LEE: What is the department’s position since most courts have indicated that DACA is a legitimate status to indicate to your employees that they should not be treated precipitously, disrespectfully and detained, which is what is happening?
NIELSEN: We are complying with all court orders. So what that means is if you are currently registered DACA recipient, you will not be deported. If you have applied for recertification as a DACA individual, you also will not be--
REP. JACKSON LEE: And you will take new applications?
NIELSEN: We are not taking new applications right now, no ma’am.
REP. JACKSON LEE: Alright, if you could give me answers to all the rest, including why you’re not taking new applications--” Jackson Lee said.
NIELSEN: It’s not required at the moment. So as you know, we ended the program because it was an appropriate use of --
REP. JACKSON LEE: I understand. You just put that in writing, since the courts have indicated your ending of the program was incorrect, why you’re not taking new applications.
NIELSEN: Just to be clear though, the courts have not said that. What the courts have said as of recently in the last couple of days is they’ve asked the department within 90 days to come and provide them additional information. Should they find that that information’s not sufficient, they reserve the right to take additional action. No court has ordered me to allow new DACA recipients.
REP. JACKSON LEE: I disagree with you, but I would prefer if you would submit that to me in writing along the other questions that I did not specifically get.