AUSTIN – On June 29, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton penned a letter to U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions asking the Trump administration to phase out the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program by Sept. 5.
Paxton sent the letter to Sessions on behalf of himself and nine other attorneys general. Those from Alabama, Arkansas, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Nebraska, South Carolina, Tennessee and West Virginia also signed the letter.
Paxton’s letter references his state’s successful 2014 effort to challenge the Obama administration’s Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA) program and Expanded DACA, and argues that “For these same reasons that DAPA and Expanded DACA’s unilateral Executive Branch conferral of eligibility for lawful presence and work authorization was unlawful, the original June 15, 2012, DACA memorandum is also unlawful. The original 2012 DACA program covers over one million otherwise unlawfully present aliens. And just like DAPA, DACA unilaterally confers eligibility for work authorization, and lawful presence without any statutory authorization from Congress.”
Paxton further “commend[s] the Secretary of Homeland Security for issuing his June 15, 2017, memorandum rescinding, in large part, his predecessor’s Nov. 20, 2014, memorandum creating those DAPA and Expanded DACA programs,” but opposes the decision, also set out in that memorandum, to allow DACA to remain in effect, along with some expanded DACA permits.
“We respectfully request that the Secretary of Homeland Security phase out the DACA program,” the letter states. “Specifically, we request that the Secretary of Homeland Security rescind the June 15, 2012, DACA memorandum and order that the executive branch will not renew or issue any new DACA or Expanded DACA permits in the future.”
Paxton goes on to point out that he is not demanding that the administration rescind DACA in its entirety effective immediately, or to change the administration’s immigration priorities. If the Trump administration promises by Sept. 5 to phase out the program, Paxton says that “the plaintiffs that successfully challenged DAPA and Expanded DACA will voluntarily dismiss their lawsuit currently pending in the Southern District of Texas.”
If no such promise is received by the deadline, however, Paxton plans to expand the lawsuit to challenge DACA as well.
In the time since Paxton’s letter was sent, other groups have sent their own letters in support of keeping DACA intact, including one penned by Nebraska Senator Tony Vargas and signed by 19 other state senators expressing disappointment in Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson’s support for DACA’s repeal.