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Republican AGs Attack Dreamers, Go Forum-Shopping for Anti-Immigrant Judge, and Other Republicans Remain Silent

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So much for that concern over the fate of 800,000 young Americans

Observers are weighing in to condemn the outrageous lawsuit filed by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton seeking to end DACA. Paxton has corralled the Attorneys General of six other Republican states – Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Nebraska, South Carolina and West Virginia – to go along with his mean-spirited attack on Dreamers.

Today, two columns highlight the backgrounds and motivations of two of the key players behind the latest effort to hurt Dreamers. Houston Chronicle columnist Erica Grieder examines Ken Paxton and highlights why his lawsuit has nothing to do with the rule of law; and ThinkProgress legal observer Ian Millhiser highlights Paxton’s effort to manipulate the court system in order to place the anti-DACA lawsuit before notorious anti-immigrant judge Andrew Hanen.

According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice:

“Paxton and his fellow travellers may try to put lipstick on this pig by saying it is about ‘the rule of law,’ but this is nothing less than an attempt, by a gang of Republican Attorneys General, to drive young Americans out of the only country they’ve known. Paxton has been conspiring to end DACA for years, and he crafted the legal strategy that ended a similar program for adults. He, along with Attorney General Sessions, maneuvered to force Trump’s hand, so that the President ended DACA on September 5th of last year. Now, he’s determined to use state resources to finish the job by handing the case to his fellow anti-immigrant crusader Judge Hanen. Where are the Republican voices who say they want to do right by the Dreamers? Where are the so-called moderate Republicans in Congress who will soon have the opportunity to sign onto a discharge petition to force Speaker Ryan into bringing up legislation for votes? Their silence means complicity.”

Below are excerpts from Houston Chronicle columnist Erica Grieder’s piece, “Texas AG Paxton’s lawsuit challenging DACA is a waste of time and money”:

“Paxton’s decision is one that deserves to be received with derision … in Texas, the issue at hand is not an abstract one. As of last September, according to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, about 690,000 people were enrolled in the program. Some 113,000 of them were living in Texas.

…As a general matter, I don’t think Texas should do things that are counterproductive to the public interest — even if our state’s Republican leaders have ambitions for higher office, as Paxton possibly does … The attorney general would like us to believe that he doesn’t necessarily want to do any of those things here. I find that hard to believe, unfortunately, for several reasons.

For one thing, Paxton himself is under indictment. He was charged with three felony violations of state securities law in August 2015, less than a year after being elected attorney general. And he has repeatedly cast himself as a victim of the legal process, rather than evincing any concern over whether he may have, if only by accident, violated the laws of Texas — which he is charged with enforcing.

… As Texas attorney general, Paxton is empowered to do things like that [filing the new lawsuit]. But his latest lawsuit will likely prove to be nothing but a waste of time and money, and there is no evidence that his actual motive, in filing it, has anything to do with the rule of law.”

Below, find excerpts of Ian Millhiser’s ThinkProgress column on Judge Hanen, “One of the most viciously anti-immigrant judges in the country just got his hands on DACA”:

“Hanen has a history of using immigration cases to threaten the safety of tens of thousands of immigrants not before his court. Now that Hanen has jurisdiction over Texas v. United States, he could potentially use this case as a vehicle to terrorize immigrant communities.

…Hanen’s behavior in the previous immigration case — which was also named Texas v. United States — hints at the tactics he may now deploy …Lawyers defending DACA will live in constant fear that Hanen will use even the most minor misstep on their part as a pretext to sanction these lawyers — and potentially to lash out at immigrants more broadly.

…Hanen’s past behavior … suggests that he is not the kind of judge who will let legal precedent stand in the way. And any order handed down by Hanen will appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, one of the most conservative courts in the country.

By manipulating the court system to get this case before Hanen, in other words, Paxton could create a chaotic situation where career immigration officials risk contempt sanctions no matter what they do, political appointees use Hanen’s order as an excuse to shut down DACA, and DACA beneficiaries have no idea who is in charge.

…Until someone intervenes — perhaps through an amendment to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure that would automatically reassign cases requesting a nationwide injunction to a random district judge, or, as Judge Gregg Costa proposed in the Harvard Law Review, assigning requests for such injunctions to a three-judge panel — partisans like Ken Paxton are likely to keep manipulating the court system. And judges like Andrew Hanen are likely to continue abusing their power.”