States to Trump: End `Dreamer’ Immigration Program or We Sue

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By Laura D. Francis

Texas and nine other states are asking the Trump administration to shut down former President Barack Obama’s deportation protection program for young immigrants known as “dreamers.”

The letter sent June 29 to Attorney General Jeff Sessions asks that the administration phase out the deferred action for childhood arrivals program. The administration need not revoke anyone’s DACA work permit, but it shouldn’t renew them and shouldn’t issue any new ones, the letter said.

The states—which sued the Obama administration over the sister program for the parents of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents—said they would drop their lawsuit if DACA is eliminated. The case is still pending before a federal judge in Texas after the U.S. Supreme Court in 2016 split 4-4 and failed to issue a decision on the issue.

Judge Andrew Hanen of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas has put the case on hold until July 7.

If the Trump administration doesn’t phase out DACA, the states will amend their lawsuit to include a challenge to that program, the letter said.

The letter’s signatories include the attorneys general of Alabama, Arkansas, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Nebraska, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and West Virginia, as well as the governor of Idaho. All of the states are parties to the lawsuit.

Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Utah, and Wisconsin also are part of the earlier lawsuit. They didn’t sign onto the June 29 DACA letter.

Campaign Promise

President Donald Trump made a campaign promise to end DACA on his first day as president but so far has taken no action. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services approved 17,275 initial DACA applications and 107,524 renewal applications in the first three months of this year. More than 787,000 immigrants are in the program.

The June 29 letter drew rebukes from various pro-immigration and civil rights groups, including, the American Civil Liberties Union, and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund.

Justice Department spokeswoman Nicole Navas Oxman told Bloomberg BNA June 30 that the agency is reviewing the letter but wouldn’t comment further.

David Lapan, a spokesman for the Department of Homeland Security, told Bloomberg BNA June 30 that DHS Secretary John Kelly’s views on DACA are “a matter of record.”

Kelly told the House Homeland Security Committee June 7 that the DHS isn’t targeting DACA recipients for deportation. He subsequently rescinded the deferred action for parents of Americans and lawful permanent residents program and an expanded version of DACA. However, he left the original DACA program untouched.

But Kelly told members of Congress that they need to enact legislation granting legal status to the immigrants DACA covers. Because the program is discretionary, a successor DHS secretary may feel differently, he said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Laura D. Francis in Washington at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Peggy Aulino at; Terence Hyland at; Chris Opfer at

For More Information

Text of the letter is available at

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