The State of Texas is asking a federal judge in Brownsville to declare the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which allows people who came to the U.S. with their illegal immigrant parents to be granted work permits and protection from deportation is illegal, because the 2012 order from President Barack Obama violates the enumerated power of Congress to decide immigration issues, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.
"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 preferences," Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said in filing the lawsuit.
Paxton says more than one million people are currently being allowed to live and work in the United States despite their illegal status, a situation which has never been authorized by Congress. He says DACA has led to U.S. citizenship for 1,056 illegal immigrants and has provided a pathway to citizenship to another 39,514 people, despite the promises of the Obama Administration that DACA would 'not grant any path to citizenship.
'Paxton says Texas threatened to sue last year if President Trump did not end the DACA program. When three federal judges blocked the president from doing so, Paxton says that's when he decided to act.
"Activist judges should not stand in the way of the President fulfilling his constitutional duty," Paxton said. "DACA encourages lawlessness within the federal government, and at our borders."
The fact that the Southern District of Texas in Brownsville is the site of the filing is significant. In 2013, a lawsuit filed by then Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott in that court led to the declaration that the DAPA program, a companion of DACA implemented by President Obama to protect the parents of illegal immigrant children, was illegal. That ruling was upheld at the appellate and Supreme Court levels and DAPA was withdrawn.
"Left intact, DACA sets a dangerous precedent by giving the executive branch sweeping authority to ignore the laws imposed by Congress," Paxton said.
Paxton stressed that his lawsuit, which is filed in conjunction with six other states, does not ask that the judge declare support for any particular immigration policy, and does not ask that any individuals be targeted for removal. He says he is just asking the judge to allow Congress to do its constitutional duty to decide immigration policy.
“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.”
The lawsuit seeks an injunction blocking any new DACA protections to be issued.