When at First You Don’t Succeed, Sue
Seven states including Texas have filed a joint lawsuit against the current presidential administration in an attempt to force the end of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, the proposed repeal of which has been repeatedly denied by the courts.
The lawsuit requests that the program be phased out within the next two years and could set the stage for Supreme Court intervention.
The full list of states suing the administration also include Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Nebraska, South Carolina, and West Virginia.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed the lawsuit in response to a third court decision that ruled against the immediate repeal of the DACA program.
“Texas has argued for years that 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.” – Paxton
Basically, their argument is that the executive branch of the federal government does not actually possess the power to grant sweeping status and work permits for a broad swath of illegal immigrants, and that the Defendants (the state governments) should be able to deny the renewal of any existing DACA permits and prohibit the approval of any new permits.
They are not, however, advocating for the executive branch to issue a sweeping repeal of the bill.
Their logic is that if the states have the right to virtually opt-out of the DACA program, enough states will be on board with that to effectively shut down the program through refusal to renew or issue new permits.
“Today’s filing by seven retrograde states comes nearly six years after DACA was introduced and many weeks after three other federal courts began to order that the DACA initiative continue despite Donald Trump’s attempt to end it. With a federal attorney general who erroneously and precipitously advised Trump that DACA is unlawful, today’s lawsuit is plainly collusive between two attorneys general each egregiously ignorant of the law.” – Thomas Saenz, president and general counsel of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund
Unfortunately, Texas has used this logic successfully in previous cases, including one in 2014 that attempted to extend deportation protection to parents of U.S. citizens and lawful residents, so there is a precedent for this argument.
What makes this potentially catastrophic is the potential this lawsuit has to force the Supreme Court to intervene.
See, if the judge ruling on this lawsuit rules in favor of the defendants (Texas et al.), that decision will be in conflict with the three previous decisions put forth by other courts.
If there are conflicting decisions and precedents in the lower court systems, it is the duty of the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) to hear the case and resolve the conflict by ruling in favor of one interpretation or the other.
With the administration’s addition of conservative Neil Gorsuch to the bench, the possibility of a SCOTUS hearing is deeply concerning.
Iron Triangle Press will continue to cover this story.