The U.S. Justice Department says it will not defend the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program in a lawsuit filed by Texas and a dozen other states claiming that the Obama Administration program is unlawful, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.
DACA was imposed by executive order in the Obama Adminsitration in 2012 to grant freedom from deportation and other benefits, like driver's licenses, to young people who entered the U.S. illegally along with their illegal immigrant parents, when they were under 15 years old.
An estimated 800,000 DACA recipients are currently in the U.S.Texas earlier this year sued the federal government in federal court in Brownsville, claiming that the policy is illegal.
"Federal defendants agree that DACA is unlawful and that Plaintiffs could establish a basis for injunctive relieve under controlling Fifth Circuit precedent if they can establish standing by providing a factual basis to conclude that DACA costs Plaintiffs' money in issuing drivers' licenses," the Justice Department said in a statement released Sunday.
The Justice Deparmtment points out that the same federal court declared the companion program, DAPA, Deferred Action for Parents of Americans, to be unconstitutional, in a decision that was upheld at the appellate and Supreme Court level. DAPA sought to provide the same protections for illegal immigrants who were the parents of children who were U.S. citizens by virtue of their being born in the U.S.
Refusing to enforce a law which is currently on the books is unusual by the Justice Department but is not unheard of, especially in the case of laws like DACA, which were approved by previous administrations.
The Justice Department also asks the Brownsville court to delay any decision on DACA for 14 days, so federal officials can deal with decisions by courts in California and New York which have ordered that DACA continue.