Fulfilling a threat made last summer against the Trump administration, Texas has filed a lawsuit to force the federal government to end DACA.
DACA, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, is the Obama-era executive order protecting approximately 700,000 people brought to the U.S. illegally as children from deportation. Texas’ lawsuit, filed by Texas attorney general Ken Paxton, comes almost nine months after U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that DACA would be rescinded on March 5.
Prior to Sessions’ announcement, however, Paxton threatened last June to sue if the Trump administration did not take steps to end DACA by September.
Texas is one of seven states that filed the lawsuit, and Paxton is leading it. The other states suing are Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Nebraska, South Carolina and West Virginia.
This is the first major lawsuit against the program. Previously, dozens of lawsuits have been filed around the country to stop the federal government from rescinding DACA. Just last week, federal judge John Bates in Washington D.C. ordered the Trump administration to reverse its recission of the program with a 90-day delay unless it provided better arguments for why it should be eliminated. Bates was the third federal judge to halt President Donald Trump from ending DACA.
“(Trump) agreed to phase out DACA after I led a coalition requesting his administration do so or face a court challenge,” Paxton said in a statement. “Since then, three activist federal judges have blocked the federal government from cancelling DACA. That means that unelected federal judges are forcing the Trump administration to leave an unlawful program in place indefinitely as legal challenges drag on.”
Paxton also said leaving DACA intact sets a “dangerous precedent” of letting the executive branch of the federal government “change” the country’s laws.
“The danger DACA poses goes far beyond its consequences for our immigration system,” Paxton said in a statement. “It invites future presidents to ignore the law, ignore the will of the people, and set their own policies on the Second Amendment, privacy rights, drug laws, or any of the other important issues debated in Congress.”
State Rep. Eddie Rodriguez, who also serves as a policy chairman for the Mexican American Legislative Caucus, called the lawsuit unnecessary, according to the Austin American-Statesman.
“These are young people who were brought here when they were young,” Rodriguez told the Statesman. “They’ve done nothing wrong on their own.”