© 2024 254 North Front Street, Suite 300, Wilmington, NC 28401 | 910.343.1640
News Classical 91.3 Wilmington 92.7 Wilmington 96.7 Southport
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Texas, 6 Other States Sue Trump Administration, Seeking An End To DACA

Supporters of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program participate in civil disobedience on Capitol Hill in March.
Jacquelyn Martin
Supporters of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program participate in civil disobedience on Capitol Hill in March.

Texas and six other states have filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration seeking to force it to end the Obama-era program protecting about 700,000 young immigrants from deportation.

The lawsuit was filed by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton in a federal court in Brownsville. It argues that President Obama, back in 2012, exceeded his authority when he created the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. DACA allows young people who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children to stay and work. DACA recipients are also known as DREAMers.

"Our lawsuit is about the rule of law, not the wisdom of any particular immigration policy," Paxton said in a statement. "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 September 2017, President Trump announced that he would end DACA in March 2018, but three federal courts have blocked him. Now Texas, Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Nebraska, South Carolina and West Virginia are asking the court to phase out DACA within two years. The lawsuit contends:

"While the Court would have the power to enter an injunction immediately rescinding all DACA permits that confer lawful presence and work authorization, Plaintiff States are amenable to an injunction that prospectively enjoins Defendants in the future from renewing or issuing any new DACA permits that confer lawful presence and work authorization, but does not require the Executive to immediately rescind any existing DACA permits that confer lawful presence or work authorization. Such an injunction would effectively phase out the DACA program within two years."

As The Washington Post reports, a decision in support of the Texas lawsuit could set up conflicting federal court rulings and force the Supreme Court to intervene.

Supporters of DACA blasted the suit.

"Today's filing by seven retrograde states comes nearly six years after DACA was introduced and many weeks after three other federal courts began to order that the DACA initiative continue despite Donald Trump's attempt to end it," said Thomas Saenz, president and general counsel of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund.

"With a federal attorney general who erroneously and precipitously advised Trump that DACA is unlawful, today's lawsuit is plainly collusive between two attorneys general each egregiously ignorant of the law," he added.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Corrected: May 2, 2018 at 12:00 AM EDT
A previous version of this story incorrectly referred to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program as protecting about 700 young immigrants from deportation. The number is about 700,000. Additionally, the story implied that young people brought to the U.S. as of 2012 would be allowed to stay; to be eligible, applicants must have been younger than 31 when the program began in 2012.
Richard Gonzales is NPR's National Desk Correspondent based in San Francisco. Along with covering the daily news of region, Gonzales' reporting has included medical marijuana, gay marriage, drive-by shootings, Jerry Brown, Willie Brown, the U.S. Ninth Circuit, the California State Supreme Court and any other legal, political, or social development occurring in Northern California relevant to the rest of the country.