Texas wants to end DACA; Thursday back to court

Laredo, Texas- In a last-ditch effort to inhibit the federal protection granted to thousands of undocumented migrants known as “Dreamers” living in Texas, the state will appeal to federal courts on Thursday with the intention of ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, better known as DACA.

At least 95,000 people – until 2022 – are protected under DACA in Texas, a program that allows qualified applicants who entered the United States as children a renewable work permit every two years and a safeguard against deportation.

The Lone Star State will argue at Thursday’s hearing that the policy, which was initiated in 2012 by President Obama, was unlawfully triggered. Federal District Judge Andrew Hanen had previously ruled that the Obama administration did not implement DACA in accordance with federal law.

Regarding the above, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals agreed, however, the program has been maintained for current beneficiaries, but new applications are on hold until a final decision is made. Hanen himself is set to hear arguments on Thursday.

Just last year the Biden administration finalized a rule that would strengthen DACA’s protections for its beneficiaries, estimated by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to number more than 580,000 in the country. But the appeals court returned the case to Hanen to determine the legality of that rule, and it is since then that Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has been working to end the program while that decision is being defined.

On Tuesday, Nina Perales, vice president of litigation for the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund-MALDEF-said at a press conference that the focus of next Thursday’s hearing revolves around two main issues.

“We will be arguing before Judge Hanen that neither Texas nor any of the other states challenging DACA have standing to sue, meaning they have not identified any injury that comes to them as a result of DACA recipients living in their states. That means they can’t come to court and file a case because you have to have standing to sue,” he said.

In addition, MALDEF will argue that DACA is legal under current law because federal prosecutors have used what is known as prosecutorial discretion for years. Prosecutorial discretion is a practice used to determine which cases should be prioritized and pursued.

It should be noted that prosecutor Paxton is currently suspended from his official duties because of the lawsuit against him stemming from abuses and crimes of various kinds. Governor Greg Abbott appointed former Texas Secretary John Scott as Acting Attorney General, however it is unknown what role the director will play in the ongoing litigation.

Texas prepares to renew its court battle against DACA immigration program in Houston

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