NEW YORK — The Department of Justice told a court on Monday that it shouldn’t have to turn over records related to President Donald Trump’s decision to end a program protecting some young immigrants from deportation.
Lawyers for Trump’s administration asked the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to overturn a lower court’s order they say would potentially require government agencies to review more than 1 million documents.
Already, lawyers for the Department of Justice said, the “extraordinarily burdensome and intrusive” request for documents has strained resources at some agencies, forcing Immigration and Customs Enforcement to pull agency lawyers and personnel from immigration court appearances and other routine duties.
Activists are suing Trump’s administration in New York and California over the planned shutdown of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA. They want a chance to review documents showing how the Republican president and top administration officials decided to end the program.
The program has protected about 800,000 people who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children or came with families that overstayed visas. It includes hundreds of thousands of college-age students.
The appeals court has scheduled arguments for Tuesday before a three-judge panel.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions, a Republican former U.S. senator from Alabama, has said the decision by then-President Barack Obama, a Democrat, to implement DACA was an unconstitutional exercise of his authority.
And the lawyers said in Monday’s written submission that judicial review of the decision of the acting secretary of the Department of Homeland Security to wind down the program is barred by existing law.
“Here, the only apparent purpose of the record expansion is to examine the mental processes of the decision maker — to investigate what the acting secretary (and her subordinates) thought rather than what she decided,” the lawyers wrote.
Requests for comment from lawyers for plaintiffs were not immediately returned.