You’d think that Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton would have other things to worry about, like the fact that the three felony charges hanging over his head could land him in the slammer for up to 99 years.
But on the very same day Paxton’s legal team met with the new judge presiding over his criminal case, Paxton and Republican officials in nine other states announced they will sue Donald Trump if he doesn’t end former President Barack Obama’s popular Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which has allowed nearly 800,000 immigrant youth to work legally and pursue their dreams.
Texas already paved the way to killing Obama’s 2014 immigration action, which would have protected the undocumented parents of U.S. citizens and permanent residents from deportation and allowed them to work legally. Now these anti-immigrant charlatans want an end to DACA as well:
Joining Paxton on the letter were Idaho Gov. Butch Otter and the attorneys general of Alabama, Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Nebraska, South Carolina, Tennessee, Idaho and West Virginia.
The letter said the threatened lawsuit against DACA would follow the same legal reasoning that prompted the federal courts to block Obama’s 2014 attempt to expand DACA and add protections for unauthorized immigrants who were parents of U.S. citizens and legal residents.
Texas led a 26-state coalition that successfully challenged that order — known as DAPA, or Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents — arguing that the Obama administration did not have the legal authority to issue an order protecting about 4 million people from deportation.
Kelly formally rescinded a Homeland Security memo that implemented the DAPA policy on June 15 but kept the DACA memo in place, prompting Paxton’s letter Thursday.
“It’s outrageous and wrong for these far-right Republican politicians to attack immigrant youth and DACA, a program that has worked incredibly well for the past five years,” said Greisa Martinez, a leader with immigrant youth led organization United We Dream. “Make no mistake, we will organize and fight to defend, preserve and protect DACA. We call on all people of conscience to speak out in favor of protecting immigrant youth, our families, and our communities. The racist agenda must be stopped.”
America’s Voice notes the consequences of ending the wildly successful DACA program:
For either Trump to end DACA or for Paxton to follow through on his threats against the program would be an outrage. Deferred action has been incredibly successful for five years, helping some 750,000 Dreamers go to school, legally work, drive, travel, and achieve their dreams. Dreamers have gotten better jobs, bought homes, and started businesses. Ending DACA would cost $433 billion over a decade, including a $6.1 billion to Texas alone every year. And DACA is popular — a November 2016 poll found that 58% of respondents supported keeping DACA, with only 19% of respondents feeling strongly that it should be repealed. Perhaps for this reason, fifteen of the 26 states that originally joined with Texas against DAPA did not sign Paxton’s letter today.
As former American Immigration Lawyers Association president David Leopold noted, it’s important for immigrant youth to remember that, for now, nothing has changed. If you’re enrolled, you’re still enrolled. If you just applied or are going to, also stay in touch with groups like United We Dream and America’s Voice to keep you updated.
But as Leopold also noted, this is another stark reminder that DACA is tenuous because it can be withdrawn at any time by someone as unstable as Trump. The solution is permanent legislative relief for immigrant youth, and now. In the meantime, though, DACA must remain.
“The DACA program was the product of years of work and those same foot soldiers will defend the program and the DREAMers against this latest, vicious attack,” said the ACLU’s Lorella Praeli. “No matter how hard the GOP works to send people back into shadows, they will not succeed.”
To stand in solidarity with immigrant youth, text HERE TO STAY to United We Dream at 877877.
Also, don’t miss this legendary clap-back from a DACA recipient to Paxton.