Pro-immigration reform protesters attend the 2017 Dallas Mega March.
Pro-immigration reform protesters attend the 2017 Dallas Mega March.
Elroy Johnson

As Trump Proffers DACA Deal, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton Threatens to Sue

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton told the U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday that if it doesn't step in to shut down the 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program before the end of June, Texas might sue the federal government to end the program.

Paxton's statement came in an amicus brief arguing that the Supreme Court should overturn a lower-court ruling that has temporarily prevented the Trump administration from phasing out the program, which President Barack Obama created by executive order. It provides legal status to 800,000 undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children.

“Texas has successfully argued at all levels of the federal judiciary that the federal executive branch lacks the power to unilaterally grant lawful presence to unlawfully present aliens,” Paxton said, referencing the state's successful lawsuit to stop a program that would've allowed the parents of those protected by DACA to remain in the United States. “Left intact, DACA would set a dangerous precedent by giving the executive branch sweeping authority to circumvent Congress and change our nation’s immigration laws. Today, consistent with the rule of law and the principle of separation of powers, Congress has an opportunity to act.”

Last year, Paxton and attorneys general from nine other states threatened to sue to stop DACA if it wasn't ended by Sept. 5.

As Paxton made his latest threat, the White House proposed a deal Thursday afternoon that would provide a path to citizenship for those currently covered by DACA, including 124,000 Texans and 1.1 million otherwise eligible people who did not register for the program. In exchange, the Trump administration wants a $25 billion trust fund to pay for a wall along the southern U.S. border and drastic cuts to legal immigration.

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas said Thursday that he couldn't support a deal that made it possible for DACA recipients to eventually become citizens.

“I do not believe we should be granting a path to citizenship to anybody here illegally,” Cruz told reporters on Capitol Hill, according to Bloomberg. “Doing so is inconsistent with the promises we made to the men and women who elected us.”

Cruz said that allowing anyone in the country to become a citizen, even in 10 to 12 years, as Trump has suggested, makes Republicans more liberal than Obama.

“For some reason that to me is utterly inexplicable, we see Republicans falling all over themselves to gallop to the left of Obama in a way that is contrary to the promises made to the voters who elected us,” Cruz said.

Cruz's Democratic challenger in his 2018 re-election bid, U.S. Rep. Beto O'Rourke, blasted the senator for being out of step with Texas and the rest of the United States, posting on Twitter that "79% of Americans agree that Dreamers should be allowed to stay and apply for citizenship."

"I'm with them," O'Rourke said. "We understand the incredible contributions 800,000 Dreamers make to our country. They're not going anywhere."

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