Texas and six other states announced a lawsuit in federal court seeking to compel the Trump administration to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
The lawsuit could lead to conflicting federal court decisions which might take the fate of DACA's 690,000 recipients to the Supreme Court, the Washington Post reported. Those recipients, who immigrated to the United States as minors, were covered under the Obama-era program which gave them protection from deportation and renewable work authorizations.
The deadline for the expiration of DACA work permits technically expired on March 5; however, federal court rulings have enjoined President Donald Trump's administration from ending the program, attacking the legitimacy and process of Trump's decision to roll it back.
Now, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has filed another federal lawsuit, this one in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas. Joined by Republican attorneys general from Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Nebraska, South Carolina and West Virginia, Paxton's suit challenges the legality of President Barack Obama's 2012 decision to implement DACA in the first place, a policy Conservatives have long derided as unconstitutional.
Paxton's filing followed up on a threat from Texas last year to sue the federal government for inaction on the issue. That threat, the Post suggested, prompted the Trump administration to begin winding down DACA.
But that wind down has been blocked by the previous federal court rulings, meaning that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has continued to accept DACA renewal applications. The multi-state lawsuit is not seeking the immediate deportation of DACA recipients, although it stipulates that the court could effectuate this outcome.
Rather, Texas and its co-plaintiffs said that they would be open to a solution that phased out the program over the next two years, as the Trump administration originally planned. To Paxton, this would help rectify an illegal status quo.
"Our lawsuit is about the rule of law, not the wisdom of any particular immigration policy," he said. "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."