Texas and a coalition of six other states filed a lawsuit in federal court Tuesday challenging the constitutionality of the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
The 137-page lawsuit is the latest legal twist over the fate of DACA, which grants work permits to undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children.
President Donald Trump moved to phase out the program in September after attorneys general from Texas and nine other states threatened to dispute in court the legality of the executive-branch program. At the time, Trump said he hoped to reach agreement with Congress on statutory language to maintain DACA. Subsequently, though, Trump imposed multiple conditions on codifying DACA that congressional Democrats rejected, including new limits on legal immigration.
Under Trump's phaseout plan, DACA protections were set to begin expiring in large numbers starting in March. But district court judges in San Francisco, New York, and the District of Columbia ordered his administration to restart DACA renewals and even, possibly, to start accepting new applications for the program. The matter is expected to end up before the Supreme Court.
The Texas suit argues that DACA overstepped the authority of the executive branch — the same argument Texas made successfully against a 2014 program that broadened deportation relief to the parents of U.S. citizens and to lawful permanent residents.
“This Court has authority to immediately rescind and cancel all DACA permits currently in existence because they are unlawful,” the states argue in the lawsuit. But they would agree to a solution, they said, that blocked the administration from issuing or renewing DACA permits, “effectively phasing out the program within two years.”
The Homeland Security Department, whose officials are named in the complaint filed Tuesday by Texas and backing states, said it does not comment on pending litigation.