Leading a coalition of seven states, Attorney General Ken Paxton today filed a lawsuit against the federal government to end the unconstitutional Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which granted lawful presence and work permits to nearly one million unlawfully present aliens without congressional approval.
As of August 21, 2017, DACA led to U.S. citizenship for 1,056 aliens and provided a pathway to citizenship for 39,514 aliens – even though the Obama administration promised the program would not grant any pathway to citizenship.
Siding with the rule of law, President Trump last September agreed to phase out DACA by March 5 after Attorney General Paxton led a 10-state coalition requesting that the Trump administration do so or face a court challenge. But earlier this year, a ruling by a U.S. District Court in California blocked the federal government from cancelling DACA, forcing the administration to leave it in place indefinitely as legal challenges drag on. Similar decisions were subsequently issued by district courts in New York and Washington, D.C., and the D.C. Circuit Court ruled on April 24 that the Trump administration had 90 days to fully restore DACA.
“Our lawsuit is about the rule of law, not the wisdom of any particular immigration policy,” Attorney General Paxton said. “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 the lawsuit, Attorney General Paxton and the multi-state coalition urge the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas to declare DACA unlawful and stop the federal government from issuing or renewing any DACA permits in the future. The lawsuit does not ask the federal government to remove any alien currently covered by DACA, nor does it ask the Trump administration to rescind DACA permits that have already been issued.
The president has a duty under the Constitution to “take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed,” and DACA does exactly the opposite. It encourages lawlessness within the federal government and at our borders.
Texas has a proven track record in protecting liberty and taking on abuse of federal power. When President Obama sought to grant lawful presence to more than four million unlawfully present aliens, Attorney General Paxton led a multi-state coalition all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court to stop his unlawful immigration plan, known as the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA). DAPA and DACA rest on the same flawed legal footing.
Joining Texas in the DACA lawsuit are the attorneys general of Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Nebraska, South Carolina and West Virginia.
View a copy of the lawsuit here: https://www.texasattorneygeneral.gov/sites/default/files/files/epress/File-Stamped_Complaint.pdf