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El Paso, TX – In a piece condemning Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton for his attack on DACA, a program that provides nearly 800,000 young people the opportunity to go to school, work, and contribute to the American economy, the El Paso Times Editorial Board writes that while “Paxton’s grandstanding undoubtedly plays well with his base…repealing DACA would be bad for young people, bad for Texas and bad for the country.”
We excerpt key portions of the editorial below. It can be found in its entirety here.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton lacks credibility in his explanation of why he is asking the Trump administration to end an Obama-era program that protects many young undocumented immigrants from deportation.
At issue is the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, which offers protection for people who came to the country illegally as children, are pursuing an education or served in the military, and have a clean criminal record.
President Obama issued the executive order in 2012 after Congress blocked any attempts at immigration reform. About 800,000 productive and promising young people have received protection from deportation under DACA.
Paxton and nine other attorneys general sent a letter in June to President Trump threatening a lawsuit if he didn’t end the program, a step that even Trump has so far been reluctant to take.
A group of state lawmakers from Texas border areas urged Paxton to withdraw the letter, and he respondedon Tuesday.
“I did so because DACA amounts to an unlawful use of executive power,” Paxton said in the letter to border lawmakers. “Phasing out DACA is about the rule of law and constitutional separation of powers, not the wisdom of any particular immigration policy.”
Paxton’s broader behavior pattern suggests otherwise. Like other Republican state attorneys general, he repeatedly filed lawsuits challenging actions by the Obama administration, but has stood mute as President Trump has issued executive orders of dubious constitutionality.
Paxton said in his letter to the border lawmakers that immigration policy decisions “should be made by the legislative branch of government.” Except when Republican presidents implement sweeping bans on people from Muslim countries entering the United States, apparently.
State Rep. César Blanco, D-El Paso, says correctly that Paxton is “playing politics instead of upholding the law.”
“Clearly, Paxton is cherry-picking issues for political gain and this is obviously for his right-wing base. … I think Paxton is playing politics with a position that should be objective, with a position that should be fair. Unfortunately, he cares more about politics,” Blanco said.
DACA has been a rare bright spot in the recent history of U.S. immigration policy. It is a practical, humane approach that lets young people come out of the shadows and contribute to their communities and their nation.
Paxton’s grandstanding undoubtedly plays well with his base, but repealing DACA would be bad for young people, bad for Texas and bad for the country.