(ESPAÑOL) The Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton this Tuesday led a seven-state challenge to the DACA program that protects about 800,000 young people—an estimated 124,000 in Texas—from deportation because they were brought into the country when they were children in violation of immigration laws.
The Paxton lawsuit, filed in the Southern District of Texas, does not specifically challenge DACA as a policy but as to whether Obama as president had the power to set it up in the first place. “DACA purported to grant lawful presence and work permits to nearly one million unlawfully present aliens without congressional approval,” Paxton said in announcing the lawsuit. He said President Trump has tried to end the program but “three activists federal judges” have blocked his attempts.
“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.”
Under a U.S. Supreme Court ruling, Texas is required to provide an elementary and secondary education to every child living in the state, regardless of their legal residency status. A law passed during Republican Rick Perry’s tenure as governor grants in-state college tuition to graduates of Texas high schools, even if they are undocumented immigrants. Many of these young people have little to no memory of their homeland and have become productive members of Texas society.
Texas Democratic Chairman Gilberto Hinojosa issued a statement saying Paxton’s “cruel anti-immigration agenda will rip over 124,000 Texans away from their families and jeopardize our economy. The average age of DACA participants at the time they arrived in the U.S. is 6.5 years old, they should feel safe and accepted in the only country they know to be their home.”