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Nearly one year ago, the Trump administration announced the end of the popular and successful Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. With the Republican Congress unable and unwilling to resolve the future of Dreamers through legislation, it has been left to the courts to intervene. To date, three federal courts have ruled that DACA was ended unlawfully and that renewals should be continued. In one of those decisions, by Judge Bates in Washington, DC, the judge ruled that, in addition to renewals, DACA should be fully restarted and new applications accepted in a matter of days.
Meanwhile, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, working hand-in-hand with Jeff Sessions’ Department of Justice, has gone forum-shopping to try to end DACA altogether. They brought their case to Judge Andrew Hanen, a notorious anti-immigrant hardliner who blocked an expansion of protections to more Dreamers (DACA 2.0) and to many parents (DAPA). Paxton has asked his hand-selected judge to impose an injunction on DACA, arguing that the restarting of DACA, as ordered by Judge Bates, requires immediate action. Their goal is to have Hanen rule against DACA, impose a temporary injunction and create a conflict in the courts that can only be resolved by the Supreme Court. The DOJ agreed with Paxton, leaving a third-party, MALDEF, fighting both Texas and the DOJ before Hanen.
But in a bold and adroit move that unfolded in the past few days, DACA defenders in the DC court case agreed to a settlement that stopped the restarting of DACA for new applicants, at least for now. This means the Texas request for an injunction based on the DC order to restart DACA applications now has no foundation.
Now, it’s time for Texas AG Paxton to withdraw his request for an injunction. The basis for his request is no longer valid.
Instead, Paxton and his Republican allies are arguing that DACA does such harm that it should be stopped immediately.
According to Juan Escalante, DACA recipient and Communications Manager at America’s Voice:
Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton are conspiring to manipulate the nation’s courts to end DACA once and for all.
Currently, DACA shields hundreds of thousands of young aspiring Americans from deportation. It has transformed lives, and it is supported by the overwhelming majority of Americans. Nevertheless, the Trump administration and the state of Texas are seeking to dismantle it with a Republican-led lawsuit brought before an anti-immigrant judge.
Despite the fact that DACA beneficiaries, litigators and immigrant allies have agreed to hold back on the component of the DC court order that would restart the DACA program and accept new applications, the Trump Administration still insists that DACA — renewals included — must end and must end immediately.
As the White House prepares to celebrate the members of Trump’s Deportation Force on Monday, and as the state of Texas and Trump allies lean on legal shenanigans to attack some of the best and brightest members of immigrant communities, Dreamers across the country continue to live in limbo and uncertainty.
But we are strong, we are resilient, and we will keep fighting. Whatever the courts decide in the short-term about what is lawful, most Americans join us in knowing what is just. That’s why we are confident that winning permanent relief is not a matter of if, but rather when.