Sen. Dianne Feinstein says she agrees DACA is ‘on shaky legal ground’ as she calls on Congress to act


Sept. 5, 2017, 3:28 p.m.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) signaled Tuesday that she believes former President Obama’s executive order to protect young immigrants who were brought into the U.S. as minors was on shaky legal ground, and said that is why Congress must act.

Feinstein was asked about the legality of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program during an appearance on MSNBC.

“DACA was executive order. Legal is the law of passage of something,” Feinstein responded. “You know there are 10 attorneys general that are prepared to sue. I don’t want to get into that. The point is DACA is here and we’ve got 800,000 young people who depend on this.”

“Meet the Press Daily” host Chuck Todd said that Feinstein’s answer implied that the program was “on shaky legal ground.”

“It is,” Feinstein responded. “That’s why we need to pass a law, and we should do it.”

The Democrat’s words questioning the legality of the DACA program seemed to echo U.S. Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions’ explanation for why the Trump administration was phasing it out, saying that Obama had exceeded his legal authority.

Feinstein’s remarks are likely to fuel criticism among the most liberal members of her party, some of whom have said that she has grown out of touch with her constituents as she ponders whether to seek a sixth term next year. Feinstein set off a furor last week when she declined to call for President Trump’s impeachment and urged “patience” over his presidency.

After this item was published, a spokeswoman for Feinstein emailed to clarify that the senator was “obviously” referring to the legal threat posed by the lawsuit that the state attorneys general were threatening.

Updated at 4:45 p.m.: This post was updated to add a comment from Feinstein’s office.

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