DACA/DREAM Frontera Fund News Trump Watch

Conservatives Trying to Kill DACA Using the Path that Eliminated Deferred Action for Millions

USEE – nov
Members of USEE from Arizona State University advocate for the passage of a clean DREAM Act. Photo USEE
Written by Carmen Cornejo

After efforts to pass an immigration reform package were a no-go in Congress, President Obama sought in 2014 to replicate the deportation-protection model he used for young undocumented immigrants in another segment of the immigrant population: their parents.

He created DAPA.

But immigration opponents forcefully rejected the creation of the Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA) process, which aimed to protect parents of legal residents and citizens the same way it was protecting about 800,000 DACA recipients.

The Migration Policy Institute calculated that 3.7 million parents of legal residents and citizens would have been covered by the implementation of DAPA, plus an extension of DACA.

Conservative states led by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed a lawsuit against the Obama administration. In February 2015 they got a temporary injunction, while the courts decided the fate of the program. Paxton and the conservative states were able to fast-track the consideration of the case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

We blogged about this in Lacey and Larkin Frontera Fund.

The lawsuit is pushing to bring new voices of opposition to DACA at the footsteps of the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court voted a split 4-4 decision, which reverted the case to the lower court decision. Since the lower court was also in a conservative circuit, DAPA was killed in June 2016.

Now the participants in the termination of the DAPA program are replicating the formula to kill the older DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) program, which protects young immigrants from deportation and gives them an opportunity to work in the United States.

You read this here before. Paxton again gathered the same seven conservative states and ironically presented a lawsuit against the Trump administration for keeping the DACA program alive. The Trump administration has done everything in its power to eliminate DACA but was forced by several courts to re-start the program.

You can read the lawsuit here.

The community is ready for these legal shenanigans. MALDEF (Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund) responded by filing a motion to oppose the lawsuit. It introduced the stories and testimony of 22 DACA recipients who are sharing their accomplishments and affirming the positive and transformative effects of DACA.

DACA is good policy that fosters a talented workforce in the U.S. at all levels, from physicians, educators and engineers to technicians and blue collar workers. We all need them all.

MALDEF’s lawyers have called the lawsuit a “collusive lawsuit.”

Three federal courts have already blocked President Trump’s efforts to destroy DACA, and judges have sided with the young immigrants. The Supreme Court has refused to hear the first case, leaving the lower court decision in place. The anti-DACA lawsuit is pushing to bring new voices of opposition to DACA at the footsteps of the Supreme Court.

Some analysts are speculating that this new anti-DACA lawsuit by the conservative states could close the process in some states and keep DACA alive in others.

Paxton knows what he is doing. He has filed the lawsuit in very conservative courts with very conservative judges who will likely create diverse, conflicting orders and injunctions at the expense of DACA beneficiaries.

Thomas Saenz, MALDEF President and General Counsel, stated that the Texas case should not be allowed to overtake the other decisions by judges in California, New York and the District of Columbia. “It is in some sense a race to the Courthouse,” said Saenz. “The first case filed is where the issue should be resolved.”

These legal maneuvers only increase the chances that the case will go to the Supreme Court faster.

Legal observers note that the Supreme Court must consider the injury that the termination of the program will cause not only to undocumented immigrants but to their citizen sons, daughters, spouses, etc.

Six years have gone by since the first DACA applications were approved, and beneficiaries are investing in the U.S. through houses, businesses, cars, etc., and strengthening their roots in the country.