Trump threat­ened with law­suit un­less amnesty phased out

The Washington Times Daily - - FRONT PAGE - BY STEPHEN DINAN

Texas At­tor­ney Gen­eral Ken Pax­ton warned Thurs­day that he will sue the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion to stop the de­por­ta­tion amnesty for Dream­ers un­less the gov­ern­ment vol­un­tar­ily phases out the pro­gram.

In a let­ter joined by nine other state at­tor­neys gen­eral and the gover­nor of Idaho, Mr. Pax­ton says the 2012 amnesty cre­ated by Pres­i­dent Obama and con­tin­ued by Pres­i­dent Trump is il­le­gal.

He set a Sept. 5 dead­line for the gov­ern­ment to an­nounce a phase­out. Mr. Pax­ton said that if that doesn’t hap­pen, he will ask a judge to end the pro­gram, known in gov­ern­ments­peak as DACA.

“We re­quest that the Sec­re­tary of Home­land

Se­cu­rity re­scind the June 15, 2012 DACA mem­o­ran­dum and or­der that the Ex­ec­u­tive Branch will not re­new or is­sue any new DACA or Ex­panded DACA per­mits in the fu­ture,” the at­tor­neys gen­eral said.

Their let­ter leaves Mr. Trump in a tricky po­lit­i­cal cross­fire.

Dur­ing the elec­tion cam­paign, Mr. Trump promised to can­cel DACA, but he has since said he will keep it in place. That move drew some praise from im­mi­grant rights ad­vo­cates but an­gered his base of sup­port­ers, who say he is break­ing a cam­paign pledge and em­brac­ing an il­le­gal Obama pro­gram.

The 2012 amnesty grants work per­mits and a two-year stay of de­por­ta­tion to il­le­gal im­mi­grant young adults who came to the U.S. as chil­dren and who have kept rel­a­tively clean records.

More than 780,000 Dream­ers have been ap­proved for the pro­gram, in­clud­ing tens of thou­sands who have ei­ther been ap­proved or had their per­mits re­newed un­der Mr. Trump.

No court has ruled on the le­gal­ity of DACA, but courts have found a broader pro­gram, dubbed DAPA, to be il­le­gal. The judges said it’s up to Congress, not the pres­i­dent, to is­sue such a broad grant of ten­ta­tive le­gal sta­tus to an en­tire cat­e­gory of peo­ple.

DAPA would have ap­plied to as many as 4 mil­lion peo­ple, in­clud­ing a broader set of Dream­ers and an en­tire cat­e­gory of il­le­gal im­mi­grant par­ents whose chil­dren are U.S. cit­i­zens or le­gal per­ma­nent res­i­dents.

The Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion this month of­fi­cially re­voked DAPA but specif­i­cally said it was keep­ing DACA in place.

That’s a cu­ri­ous move, legally. DAPA par­ents have some ar­gu­ment for fu­ture le­gal sta­tus, be­cause their legally present chil­dren can even­tu­ally file pe­ti­tions for them, the Of­fice of Le­gal Coun­sel said. DACA re­cip­i­ents do not nec­es­sar­ily have that con­nec­tion to the U.S., how­ever.

Mr. Pax­ton said DACA suf­fers from the le­gal prob­lems that sank DAPA in the courts.

“Just like DAPA, DACA uni­lat­er­ally con­fers el­i­gi­bil­ity for work au­tho­riza­tion … and law­ful pres­ence with­out any statu­tory au­tho­riza­tion from Congress,” he wrote.

The Jus­tice Depart­ment did not have an im­me­di­ate com­ment on the let­ter Thurs­day night.

Im­mi­grant rights groups, though, were out­raged by the calls to have DACA can­celed.

“Make no mis­take: We will or­ga­nize and fight to de­fend, pre­serve and pro­tect DACA,” said Greisa Martinez, ad­vo­cacy di­rec­tor at United We Dream Ac­tion and a DACA ben­e­fi­ciary. “There is ab­so­lutely no rea­son why this coun­try should put 800,000 young peo­ple, my­self in­cluded, into the de­por­ta­tion pipe­line. This is our home, and we are here to stay.”

The Amer­i­can Civil Lib­er­ties Union in­sisted DACA “is con­sti­tu­tional.”

Mr. Pax­ton said a phase­out would al­low any­one who is cur­rently ap­proved for a two-year DACA grant to fin­ish out that pe­riod, but it would stop new ap­provals and re­newals. He said that doesn’t mean Dream­ers would be au­to­mat­i­cally de­ported, how­ever.

Texas was the lead plain­tiff in the le­gal case that halted DAPA, and Mr. Pax­ton said that un­less the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion agrees to a phase­out, he will ask the judge over­see­ing that case to add the DACA pro­gram into the ar­gu­ments.

Judge Andrew S. Ha­nen was one of the first na­tional fig­ures to spot the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion’s lax treat­ment of il­le­gal im­mi­grants from Cen­tral Amer­ica, warn­ing in a stark rul­ing that Home­land Se­cu­rity was serv­ing the role of hu­man traf­fick­ers by al­low­ing chil­dren to en­ter the U.S. and be con­nected with their il­le­gally present par­ents.

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