Seven States Sue to End DACA
By Heather Ham-Warren | May 4, 2018
On Tuesday, seven states filed a lawsuit against President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program arguing that the then-president exceeded his executive authority under both federal immigration law and the U.S. Constitution by creating the program without approval from Congress.
Last summer, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, supported at the time by nine other states, threatened to sue President Trump if the DACA program was allowed to continue under his administration. Seemingly in response to this threat, President Trump announced he would halt DACA renewals starting in October and wind down DACA starting in March. That persuaded Paxton to drop his threatened lawsuit. However, several activist judges have blocked his decision, issuing nationwide injunctions and keeping DACA in place until the program works its way through courts. Although the administration has implored Congress to use its legislative authority to protect DACA beneficiaries in exchanges for various reforms, the Senate was unsuccessful in passing any of the relevant bills, and the House has failed to even offer a vote on the issue.
In the lawsuit filed this week against the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and other federal agencies, the seven states—Texas, Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Nebraska, South Carolina, and West Virginia— contend that without the prerequisite congressional authorization, the DACA program is a violation of federal law. Specifically, the states argue that DACA was implemented without the required notice-and-comment procedures necessary for all substantive government regulations and policies under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA). Additionally, they contend that it violates the “Take Care” clause of the Constitution, a clause implemented to ensure that the president “take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed.”
On that note, the seven states argue that the Obama administration’s refusal to take care that federal immigration laws were being properly executed has led to a humanitarian crisis harming both the United States and Mexico. Highlighting a 2013 federal court decision, the states assert that the Obama administration “encouraged international child smuggling across the Texas-Mexico border…by delivering the minors to the custody” of parents who were already in the United States illegally. Unsurprisingly, this human trafficking further funded illegal drug cartels creating both fear and danger to individuals on both sides of the southern border. It is unclear in Trump’s Department of Justice will defend the lawsuit or allow other organizations to step in and do so.
While the previous DACA cases (in which federal judges ruled against the Trump administration) were located in California, New York, and Washington, D.C. This case is expected to be argued before U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen of Brownsville, Texas— a man most notable for previously blocking an Obama-era decision to defer the deportation for 4 million illegal immigrants under the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA) program. Ultimately that decision was upheld by the United States Supreme Court. If Judge Hanen rules in favor of the states in this lawsuit, the case will undoubtedly make its way to the Supreme Court, where conservative minds are ahead by one vote.
Stay tuned to FAIR for updates.