In a letter sent today to the U.S. Attorney General, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, nine other state attorneys general and the governor of Idaho urged the Trump Administration to phase out the unlawful Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) program, which confers lawful presence and work permits for nearly one million unlawfully present aliens in the U.S.
Earlier this month, the U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security revoked a 2014 Obama-era memo that created the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA) program, which was blocked by courts after Texas led a multi-state coalition challenging DAPA all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. But the Secretary of Homeland Security’s recent memorandum stated that DACA would remain in effect, along with some permits that had been issued under the 2014 Obama-era memo that had been rescinded.
“We respectfully request that the Secretary of Homeland Security phase out the DACA program,” Attorney General Paxton wrote. “Just like DAPA, DACA unilaterally confers eligibility for work authorization and lawful presence without any statutory authorization from Congress.”
In their letter, Attorney General Paxton and the multi-state coalition urge the Secretary of Homeland Security to phase out the DACA program – by rescinding the 2012 DACA memorandum and ensuring that no new DACA permits are issued and no existing DACA permits are renewed in the future. The request 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.
Attorney General Paxton and the coalition promised to voluntarily dismiss their lawsuit challenging unlawful deferred-action programs currently pending in district court if the Trump Administration agrees by September 5 to rescind DACA and not renew or issue any new DACA permits in the future. “Otherwise, the complaint in that case will be amended to challenge both the DACA program and the remaining Expanded DACA permits,” the letter states.
Texas was joined on the letter by the attorneys general of Alabama, Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Nebraska, South Carolina, Tennessee, Idaho, West Virginia, and Idaho Governor C.L. Otter.
In late 2014, Texas led a 26-state coalition lawsuit against the Obama Administration that successfully put DAPA on hold as the case worked its way through the courts. Following a win in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit affirmed the district court’s decision. And ultimately, Attorney General Paxton handed former President Obama his largest court defeat of all when his unilateral immigration policies were blocked by the U.S. Supreme Court last year.