SEVERE WX : Flood Warning View Alerts
STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Texas lawsuit brings DACA d-j- vu

For longtime veterans of the immigration debate, Wednesday may have felt like waking up back in 2014.When Texa...

Posted: May 3, 2018 5:08 AM
Updated: May 3, 2018 5:08 AM

For longtime veterans of the immigration debate, Wednesday may have felt like waking up back in 2014.

When Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed a lawsuit on behalf of seven states challenging the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy in a Brownsville, Texas, federal court on Tuesday, in many ways it represented the issue coming full circle from a process Paxton himself began in the same courtroom four years ago.

"I had serious d-j- vu last night," said Josh Blackman, an associate professor at South Texas College of Law Houston who has supported Paxton's 2014 suit.

The filing of the new case in front of the same judge who placed a major and lasting roadblock in front of an attempt to expand DACA was a return to the legal strategy that has both proved successful in the effort to prevent that expansion and has been replicated to prevent DACA from being taken away.

It also increases the already strong likelihood that the issue will ultimately be decided by the Supreme Court.

A bit of history: In 2012, President Barack Obama's Department of Homeland Security instituted DACA, granting protections from deportation and work authorization to young undocumented immigrants who had come to the US as children. In 2014, a similar program, Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents, known as DAPA, was signed, which would have granted similar protections to the parents of US citizens and expanded DACA to include potentially 5 million more people, according to estimates.

Enter Paxton and the Brownsville District Court.

The Texas attorney general quickly sued to stop the DAPA program from going into effect, and District Judge Andrew Hanen, a George W. Bush appointee, issued a nationwide ruling preventing it before it could be implemented. The ruling was upheld by the 5th US Circuit Court of Appeals and in 2016 made its way to the Supreme Court, where justices deadlocked 4-4 without a replacement yet for the late Justice Antonin Scalia, leaving Hanen's ruling in place.

The case was always seen as having potential implications for DACA down the road if the challenge to DAPA were ultimately successful.

During the 2016 presidential campaign, then-candidate Donald Trump repeatedly pledged to immediately tear up both DACA and DAPA, but upon taking office, he left DACA in place.

Paxton then once again set in motion a series of events -- issuing Trump an ultimatum to either rescind DACA and wind it down, or he would file to add the program to the litigation before Hanen, who was widely expected to reject the program on the same reasoning he rejected DAPA.

Trump did just that, with his administration announcing on Paxton's deadline last September that DACA permits would begin expiring in six months, ostensibly to give Congress time to act.

But Paxton's move preventing DAPA from going into effect had laid a road map that blue states seized on under Trump, suing in other perceived friendly court circuits to prevent the President from ending the program. Those lawsuits succeeded in three separate courtrooms, with federal judges in California, New York and DC issuing nationwide rulings that the program must be continued, in the vein of Hanen. Two of those cases are now being heard on appeal.

Though Paxton had allowed the DAPA lawsuit to be closed after Trump acted in September, he announced Tuesday that he would act now that the courts had prevented the rescission from taking place, suing once again in Brownsville. Though the case was initially assigned to the other judge sitting in that court, Judge Rolando Olvera, an Obama appointee, quickly signed an order transferring the case to Hanen. Olvera's office said it had no comment on his reasoning for doing so and it was not explained in the court document.

Veterans of the long saga said they weren't surprised by the move, with Hanen widely expected to follow the same reasoning and potentially fast track for action on DACA, Paxton may have his original goal in sight.

"Anyone who was paying attention knew what was going to come next: Texas was going to sue, and they chose to do so yesterday," Blackman said.

"I basically have expected this all along, because my assumption right from the start was that when they fired the initial DAPA litigation that they made a strategic decision not to include DACA in their complaint because DACA was too popular a program," said Stephen Legomsky, a law professor at Washington University who worked for the Obama administration when DACA was instituted and again during the litigation over DAPA. "I suspected they wanted to get Hanen to declare DAPA was unconstitutional and then use that as precedent."

But the situation is different in one major respect, Blackman pointed out, which is that Trump is now in office. That puts the Justice Department -- which is trying to end DACA -- in an awkward position of being the subject of Texas' lawsuit. It is likely that advocacy groups will end up defending the program in court. In the meantime, the echoes of Paxton's 2014 move will continue to be felt.

"Texas is suing Trump to make him rescind a policy he actually wants to rescind, but there are judges saying he can't ... this is why I get these phone calls," Blackman said.

Lafayette
Partly Cloudy
42° wxIcon
Hi: 54° Lo: 23°
Feels Like: 42°
Kokomo
Clear
34° wxIcon
Hi: 48° Lo: 20°
Feels Like: 28°
Rensselaer
Partly Cloudy
36° wxIcon
Hi: 51° Lo: 20°
Feels Like: 36°
Lafayette
Partly Cloudy
42° wxIcon
Hi: 52° Lo: 23°
Feels Like: 42°
Danville
Partly Cloudy
44° wxIcon
Hi: 54° Lo: 24°
Feels Like: 44°
Frankfort
Clear
36° wxIcon
Hi: 53° Lo: 22°
Feels Like: 29°
Frankfort
Partly Cloudy
36° wxIcon
Hi: 50° Lo: 21°
Feels Like: 29°
Monticello
Clear
40° wxIcon
Hi: 52° Lo: 21°
Feels Like: 40°
Monticello
Partly Cloudy
40° wxIcon
Hi: 53° Lo: 20°
Feels Like: 40°
Logansport
Clear
32° wxIcon
Hi: 49° Lo: 21°
Feels Like: 32°
Warmest day since November ahead Monday.
WLFI Radar
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 666516

Reported Deaths: 12726
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion912711659
Lake48687890
Allen36102644
Hamilton32445398
St. Joseph30306514
Elkhart25510420
Vanderburgh21326382
Tippecanoe20220205
Johnson16466363
Porter16068281
Hendricks15944302
Clark12060182
Madison11799323
Vigo11685234
Monroe10419164
Delaware9891179
LaPorte9831199
Howard9112201
Kosciusko8597111
Bartholomew7522147
Hancock7462134
Warrick7451153
Floyd7263173
Wayne6661192
Grant6462158
Boone616691
Morgan6129128
Dubois5936112
Dearborn551270
Cass5485100
Marshall5451105
Henry542995
Noble513178
Jackson465567
Shelby463391
Lawrence4195113
Gibson405185
Harrison403265
Clinton397553
Montgomery391684
DeKalb387478
Miami358263
Knox357885
Whitley351238
Huntington349477
Steuben340055
Putnam333960
Wabash333176
Ripley327962
Adams325449
Jasper319143
White298152
Jefferson296274
Daviess285996
Fayette272756
Decatur271688
Greene262680
Posey261432
Wells259075
Scott251850
LaGrange242470
Clay241644
Randolph226077
Spencer219430
Jennings216744
Washington213027
Sullivan203739
Fountain202842
Starke189951
Owen183654
Fulton179737
Jay178728
Carroll176919
Perry174036
Orange171451
Rush165622
Vermillion161543
Franklin159935
Tipton149541
Parke140216
Pike128533
Blackford120627
Pulaski107644
Newton96832
Brown95340
Benton92413
Crawford92213
Martin80314
Warren75914
Switzerland7558
Union67510
Ohio54211
Unassigned0427

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

Closings related to the prevention of the COVID-19 can be found on our Closings page.

Community Events