Dallas County Judge Among Local Officials Urging Paxton Not to Sue Over DACA

Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins signed onto a letter urging the state of Texas not to pursue legal action against an Obama-era immigration program that protects immigrants who came to the country illegally as children from deportation.Attorney General Ken Paxton has threatened to sue the federal government over the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, if President Donald Trump's administration does not rescind the program by Sept. 5. The program shields unauthorized immigrants from deportation for two years and grants them work permits. Trump pledged to repeal the program during his presidential campaign but has waffled on the issue since. Paxton's letter is seen as a move to pressure the administration to fulfill its campaign promise.In the letter sent Friday, 11 city and county officials, say they understand the "need to address individuals who have entered our country and engaged in criminal activity" but do not agree with with efforts to punish "established community members who are working to advance themselves, our state and our country." "We call on you to stand with these young people and stand for the best of what Texas and America represents," the letter reads. "We urge that you not to pursue amending the pending lawsuit in the Southern District of Texas and/or pursue additional means by which to impact the important DACA program and its participants." Moving to rescind the program "would impact the hundreds of thousands of young people nationwide who have come out of the shadows, passed background checks, and have made the most of their opportunity to live and work in America lawfully," the letter reads. "Removing the program would be a violation of their trust in us to help them be the most productive community members possible when we asked for them to apply for temporary deferral of deportation and work permits," they said. About 800,000 people have been granted the program's benefits since its inception in 2012, according to United States Citizenship and Immigration Services.Texas has the second-largest population of unauthorized immigrants in the country. As of 2016, 271,000 residents were eligible for deportation relief under the program, according to the Migration Policy Institute, a nonpartisan think tank in Washington.An estimated 177,000 of those are eligible for the program now, while the remainder will be eligible for the program once they turn 18. More than 124,000 people in Texas have been granted deportation relief through the program."Ending DACA, as the June 29th letter demands, would be devastating to youth who know no other country but the United States," the letter says. "The consequences would reverberate across the state and nation as our economy would suffer from the loss of taxes, employers would see a loss in qualified workers who they have trained and invested in, and schools and universities would see a drop in enrollment."The other officials who signed onto the letter come from: El Paso, Bexar, Hidalgo and Travis Counties and the cities of Austin, San Antonio, Rio Grande, Eagle Pass, San Elizario and Village of Vinton.   Continue reading...

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