The State of Texas Sues The Federal Government Over How DACA was Established

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and the state of Texas along with Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Nebraska, South Carolina, and West Virginia, filed a lawsuit on Tuesday calling for the end of the DACA program that was established by Obama through executive order to protect unauthorized immigrants who came to the United States as children from deportation.

The lawsuit calls for the relief of Judge William Alsup of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California’s injunction that halted President Trump’s decision to wind down the program while Congress works to legislate a permanent resolution, stating “In 2012 and again in 2014, unilateral executive action by the Obama Administration created far-reaching, class based ‘deferred action’ programs to grant to millions of unlawfully present aliens the legal classification of ‘lawful presence’ in this country and numerous attendant benefits—without congressional authorization.”

In September of 2017 under a threat from Ken Paxton of a lawsuit like this, President Trump rescinded the executive order that created DACA, but gave Congress six months and a March 5th deadline to legislate a legal and permanent solution that would continue to protect DACA recipients from deportation. It seemed like Congress was feeling the pressure to act, as the topic of immigration reform to protect dreamers and increase border security was rising to the forefront of American politics in anticipation of the March 5th deadline at which dreamers would have begun to lose their temporary legal immigration statuses. When Judge Alsup’s injunction removed the deadline and temporarily extended DACA until a future supreme court hearing on the matter, the date of which has not been set, the greater sense of urgency in Congress to legislate bi-partisan immigration reform in the best interest of Americans was simultaneously diminished.

As Paxton’s lawsuit calling for the relief of Judge Alsup’s injunction leads to a multi-state and federal court conflict over DACA, the Supreme Court may find it appropriate to take up and rule on the constitutionality of DACA more quickly. This situation may reignite the flame under Congress’ feet urging it to legislate a resolution before the Supreme Court hears the case, because it is possible DACA will meet the same fate as DAPA, which is very similar to DACA structurally and was established by Obama through executive order, and was eventually ruled unconstitutional by a 4-4 vote in the Supreme court that upheld a lower court’s injunction of the program.

Most Americans support providing unauthorized immigrants who came to the country illegally as children with a path to earn legal status, as long as they can pass criminal background checks. The DACA population has not only been passing background checks and maintaining good moral legal standing, but they have also been required to obtain high school diplomas and attend secondary school, maintain gainful employment, or join the military. Because the Dreamer population is largely now educated and of the ripe age to pay taxes and contribute to the American economy that has an aging population demographic, providing a path for them to earn legal status and live in work in the United States is in the best interests of all Americans.

However, the United States must be a nation of laws, and conserving the Constitution and the unique powers it instilled in each branch of the federal government has and will always be crucial to protecting the many freedoms we are privileged to enjoy as Americans. That is why a permanent solution and laws to protect the Dreamers must be written, voted on, and adopted by the legislative branch, not the executive branch. Ironically, before establishing the executive order that created DACA, Obama himself even said “I know some here wish that I could just bypass Congress and change the law myself. But that’s not how democracy works. See, democracy is hard. But it’s right. Changing our laws means doing the hard work of changing minds and changing votes, one by one.”

That is why Congress must work to pass a solution that not only protects Dreamers, but helps to adequately secure the border so we know who and what are coming into our country and so we do not end up in this same position ten years down the road.

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