HOUSTON — The American Civil Liberties Union of Texas, along with affiliates in 9 other states and the national ACLU, filed open records requests today demanding copies of any communications between the Texas Office of the Attorney General and the federal government regarding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (“DACA”) program.
This request follows a late June letter, sent by state officials from 10 states, including Texas, to Attorney General Jeff Sessions demanding that the Trump administration end the DACA program. If the administration does not agree by September 5 to end DACA, the states threaten to amend an existing lawsuit in front of Judge Andrew Hanen in Texas to challenge the lawfulness of the program.
The state officials may have a supportive ally in longtime DACA opponent Attorney General Sessions. In January 2017, Sessions said that DACA is “very questionable, in my opinion, constitutionally.” And responding to the states’ June 2017 letter, Sessions said, “I like it that our states and localities are holding the federal government to account and expecting us to do our responsibility to the state and locals, and that’s to enforce the law.”
“DACA protects the constitutional rights of hundreds of thousands of young Americans who came to this country as children and know no home but the United States,” said Edgar Saldivar, senior staff attorney of the ACLU of Texas. “These young men and women are dedicated students, industrious workers and responsible members of their communities; to put them at risk of deportation to countries that they do not know would be both unwise and unjust. Both the courts and the American people have expressed their strong approval of DACA. Any attempt to end it should be made open to public debate and discussion.”
As today’s request states, “it remains unclear whether the United States will maintain its defense of the DACA program. [The] statements [from Attorney General Sessions] raise serious questions regarding the United States’ commitment to defending the legality of [the] DACA program against the States’ threatened litigation, as well as questions about possible communications regarding the Texas litigation between the States and members of the Trump administration.”