Making it in America: The Dreamers
Doesn’t Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton have anything better to do with the time of state-employed lawyers and our taxpayer money than to file lawsuits that don’t benefit Texas?
We’re talking about the suit he filed last week against the federal government, demanding it end DACA, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, that began under the Obama administration.
Most Texans say they support allowing the immigrants who came here as children to remain legally and hold down jobs. Nearly three-fifths - 59 percent of registered voters in our state - recently contacted by University of Texas-Texas Tribune pollsters, said the DACA program should be continued.
And the state’s biggest, most influential business group, the Texas Association of Business, doesn’t think the lawsuit makes sense, either.
Jeff Moseley, the CEO of the Association, said ending DACA would deplete an already thin workforce in a state where businesses often rely on immigrant workers. The TAB website notes that Texans have invested taxpayer dollars to educate these young people in our public schools and often in our colleges and universities.
“This is a workforce that has received, relative to the world, some of the best education known to mankind,” Moseley told the Star-Telegram Editorial Board. “It makes no sense to us to take this highly trained group of individuals and turn them over to other countries to join their workforces.”
The protection from deportation provided under the DACA program began to unravel when President Trump was elected.
Trump has said he has great “love” for the DACA recipients, but he’s used them as a bargaining chip.
Trump ordered DACA be ended last year, and gave Congress an early March deadline to find a legislative solution that included other immigration reforms. He tried to bait lawmakers by pledging to continue DACA if they’d give him money for a border wall, his pet project aimed at keeping immigrants from illegally crossing into our country over our southern border.
While that wrangling went on in Congress, multiple federal courts blocked plans to kill the program. Then, in late April, a federal district court in Washington, D.C., ordered the administration to resume accepting new applications within 90 days.
So, the roughly 800,000 DACA recipients — immigrants brought here by their parents as children — currently have work permits and a reprieve from deportation.
That’s something Paxton and other hardliners can’t stomach.
Paxton says the suit he filed with six other states is about the rule of law. It's about not allowing a President — in this case Barack Obama — to create laws.
Paxton’s legal argument: the establishment of DACA "sets a dangerous precedent by giving the executive branch sweeping authority to ignore the laws enacted by Congress," to suit the president's own policy preferences and ignore the will of the people.
The truth is that Paxton, like other members of the Tea Party wing of the GOP, has long taken a stand against DACA recipients having legal status.
There are plenty of other Texas Republicans who want a legislative solution that would help shield the program from continued legal challenges like Paxton’s lawsuit. Republicans in the Texas congressional delegation, including Republican Sen. John Cornyn, have been working towards one, though Trump’s plans for a wall have continued to get in the way.
This Editorial Board has argued that a solution for the Dreamers should be addressed on its own merits and not be a chip in the debate over securing the border.
As Paxton’s lawsuit works its way through the courts the Texas Association of Business with its 4,000 members and 200 local chamber partners is planning for the state legislative session which begins in January.
Moseley says immigration issues will be on the table because, “there is a real crunch by businesses to find workers of all qualifications,” and the needs of Texas companies can’t be met by U.S.-born workers alone.
The TAB presumably wants to go beyond providing legal status for the young people affected by DACA to include other undocumented immigrants. Its website says it wants to, “create the ability for undocumented workers residing in the U.S. to obtain legal status.”
Little question where Ken Paxton comes down on that.
Will it result in another meaningless lawsuit that’s bad for Texas?