AUSTIN, Texas (CBSDFW.COM/AP) — Attorney General Ken Paxton is leading a seven-state coalition suing the federal government to end once and for all a program that would protect some young immigrants from deportation.
The lawsuit announced Tuesday comes a week after a federal judge in Washington ordered the Trump administration to resume the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
Immigrants under the Obama-era program are commonly referred to as “Dreamers.” Republican Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton had threatened legal action for the past year if the program didn’t come to a halt.
Joining Texas in the lawsuit are Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Nebraska, South Carolina and West Virginia.
A federal judge in Washington called the Department of Homeland Security’s rationale against the program “arbitrary and capricious.” He gave the Trump administration 90 days to make a new case.
An estimated 8,000 DACA recipients call North Texas home, according to groups who work with them. DACA recipients have been in limbo with other legal challenges, but some believe this latest challenge could end up in the U.S. Supreme Court.
“For Ken Paxton to be doing this right now, it’s inhumane,” says Juan Carlos Cerda, a DACA recipient.
Cerda’s work permit expires in less than six months. He’s in the process of getting a renewal.
Just last week, a federal judge in Washington ruled the government must keep issuing permits.
“That means that un-elected federal judges are forcing the Trump administration to leave an unlawful program in place indefinitely as legal challenges drag on,” said Paxton.
Cerda, a community organizer, gathered signatures in support of a DREAM Act on Tuesday.
“That’s why I’m out here in the community fighting to get a permanent solution like the DREAM Act, so we can continue to stay here and not depend on a program that was only meant to be temporary,” said Cerda.
A Supreme Court ruling on DACA would be final. Cerda says it’s a roll of the dice.
Here are Paxton’s complete remarks:
“Today, leading a coalition of seven states, I filed a lawsuit against the federal government to end the unconstitutional Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival program (“DACA”). DACA purported to grant lawful presence and work permits to nearly one million unlawfully present aliens without congressional approval. In fact, DACA was an attempt by President Obama to enact a law that Congress had repeatedly rejected. Our coalition is urging the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas to declare DACA unconstitutional and stop the federal government from issuing or renewing any DACA permits in the future.
“Last September, President Trump sided with the rule of law. He agreed to phase out DACA after I led a coalition requesting his administration do so or face a court challenge. Since then, three activist federal judges have blocked the federal government from cancelling DACA. That means that unelected federal judges are forcing the Trump administration to leave an unlawful program in place indefinitely as legal challenges drag on.
“The multi-state coalition lawsuit we filed today is about the rule of law, not the wisdom of any particular immigration policy. The Constitution guarantees the American people the right to set their own immigration policies through their representatives in Congress. 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 danger DACA poses goes far beyond its consequences for our immigration system. It invites future presidents to ignore the law, ignore the will of the people, and set their own policies on the Second Amendment, privacy rights, drug laws, or any of the other important issues debated in Congress.
“President Trump has a duty under the Constitution to take care that the law be faithfully executed. Activist judges should not stand in the way of the president fulfilling his constitutional duty. DACA encourages lawlessness within the federal government and at our borders. Legally, DACA is similar to the executive amnesty program known as DAPA. The courts blocked DAPA after I led another state coalition challenging its constitutionality all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. Our coalition is confident that ultimately, through our federal lawsuit, DACA will meet the same fate as DAPA.”
(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)