Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton announced on Tuesday that the Lone Star state is suing the Trump administration for continuing the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). Introduced during the Obama administration, DACA protects from deportation those persons who entered the United States illegally as minors. DACA allows beneficiaries to live and work in America despite their illegal status. Most of them crossed into the U.S. through Mexico.
Paxton is leading a coalition of seven states that are seeking to eliminate DACA, which has protected hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants. Of these, 100,000 live in Texas. “Our lawsuit is about the rule of law, not the wisdom of any particular immigration policy,” Paxton said in a press release. “Texas has argued for years that the federal executive branch lacks the power to unilaterally grant unlawfully present aliens lawful presence and work authorization. Left intact, DACA sets a dangerous precedent by giving the executive branch sweeping authority to ignore the laws enacted by Congress and change our nation’s immigration laws to suit a president’s own policy preferences.”
In June 2017, Paxton first threatened to sue the federal government if the Trump administration had not terminated DACA by September of that year. In September, Trump announced he would end DACA by executive order if Congress did not devise a permanent solution by March 2018. When Congress did not provide a fix by March, Trump blamed the Democrats.
The lawsuit alleges that Obama administration said it would not create a pathway to citizenship for DACA beneficiaries when it devised the program. However, as of August 2017, over 39,000 DACA recipients had used its protections to obtain lawful permanent resident status. And 1,056 have used it obtain citizenship.
"If ever there were a violation of the President's duty to 'take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed,' this is it," the lawsuit reads. "The Executive unilaterally conferred lawful presence and work authorization on otherwise unlawfully present aliens, and then the Executive used that lawful-presence "dispensation" to unilaterally confer United States citizenship"
The attorneys general of Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Nebraska, South Carolina, and West Virginia are joining Texas in the lawsuit.
An expansion of the program -- the Deferred Action for Parents of American Citizens and Lawful Permanent residents (DAPA) -- that would have provided deferral of deportation for parents of U.S. citizens who had been in the country since 2010, went to the Supreme Court. In 2016, the high court left the court rulings and left the program in place. Once in office, Trump rescinded DAPA.