The Justice Department won't defend the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program in a federal lawsuit that Texas and six other states filed last month challenging the constitutionality of the program.
The DOJ argued in a legal filing late Friday that the DACA policy is unlawful and is "an open-ended circumvention of immigration laws."
The DOJ's filing was in response to a lawsuit brought by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton on behalf of seven states to the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas. The states argue that former President Barack Obama's initial creation of DACA in 2012 violated the Constitution and federal law.
The states challenging DACA are Texas, Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Nebraska, South Carolina and West Virginia.
President Donald Trump decided to end the DACA program, which granted protections from deportation and work authorization to young undocumented immigrants who had come to the US as children, but has been blocked from ending the program, for the time being, by other federal courts.
In court papers, the DOJ also argued against a nationwide ruling, saying it could potentially conflict with similar cases in California and New York, in which judges issued nationwide rulings ordering the Department of Homeland Security to resume considering renewal applications for the two-year work permits and protections from deportations.
Karen Tumlin, legal director of the National Immigration Law Center, which advocates for rights of immigrants, say the DOJ's position was not a surprise.
"Reminder: this is the same administration that ended DACA without a coherent legal basis and without care for DACA recipients," she wrote on Twitter.