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Texas Attorney General Paxton Threatens to Sue Trump if He Doesn’t End DACA

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In a move showing incredible hatefulness toward immigrants and undocumented youth, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has announced that he will sue Donald Trump if the president doesn’t end Obama’s deferred action for Dreamers (DACA) program. Here’s the news-breaking tweet:

Paxton is joined by the Attorney Generals of nine other states: Alabama, Arkansas, Idaho Kansas, Louisiana, Nebraska, South Carolina, Tennessee, West Virginia — as well as the Governor of Idaho.

The Trump Administration had said just this month that Dreamers will “continue to be eligible” for DACA, but Paxton and the other AGs apparently want Trump to be even more anti-immigrant than he already is, and are trying to force his hand.

Specifically, what Paxton wants to do is amend Texas’ complaint in Texas v. United States, the 2014 lawsuit in which the state of Texas and Judge Andrew Hanen were responsible for killing deferred action for parents (DAPA). Now, Paxton wants to bring DACA in front of Hanen as well, and as Think Progress notes, Hanen is a hardliner with an extremist record: “He will almost certainly do everything in his power to kill the program.” (We’ve written often about Hanen and his anti-immigrant bias.) From there, the Supreme Court might hear a case on DACA, but with Neil Gorsuch sitting, there may be five votes against deferred action.

Consequences of repealing DACA

For either Trump to end DACA or for Paxton to follow through on his threats against the program would be an outrage. Deferred action has been incredibly successful for five years, helping some 750,000 Dreamers go to school, legally work, drive, travel, and achieve their dreams. Dreamers have gotten better jobs, bought homes, and started businesses. Ending DACA would cost $433 billion over a decade, including a $6.1 billion to Texas alone every year. And DACA is popular — a November 2016 poll found that 58% of respondents supported keeping DACA, with only 19% of respondents feeling strongly that it should be repealed. Perhaps for this reason, fifteen of the 26 states that originally joined with Texas against DAPA did not sign Paxton’s letter today.

As a statement from Greisa Martinez, Advocacy Director at United We Dream Action, and a DACA beneficiary said:

It’s outrageous and wrong for these far-right Republican politicians to attack immigrant youth and DACA, a program that has worked incredibly well for the past five years….

For our community, we want them to know that the DACA program continues to be in place at this time.

And make no mistake, we will organize and fight to defend, preserve and protect DACA. We call on all people of conscience to speak out in favor of protecting immigrant youth, our families, and our communities. The racist agenda must be stopped.

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!

Finally, as others have noted, Ken Paxton may be best off worrying about his own affairs. The Texas Attorney General appeared in court today, escorted by seven officers from the sheriff’s office, to face his criminal court judge for the first time. Paxton is charged with two counts of felony securities fraud for convincing members of his investment group to go into a North Texas technology company without disclosing that he would make commission. He also faces a lesser felony charge of failing to register as an insurance adviser with Texas.