In the latest anti-immigrant attack from Texas, state Attorney General Ken Paxton sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General asking to “phase out” DACA, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program that protects young immigrants from deportation and provides work permits.
The letter asks the administration to stop issuing and renewing DACA permits. It does not directly ask to deport those who are covered under DACA or to take away existing permits.
Texas is joined by 10 other states in urging the Trump administration to end the deferred action program, including Alabama, Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Nebraska, South Carolina, Tennessee, Idaho, West Virginia, and Idaho.
DACA currently protects more than 800,000 people from deportation, as reported by immigrant rights organization United We Dream.
The deferred action program has helped hundreds of thousands of immigrant youth positively transform their lives, as reported in a 2016 nationwide survey by United We Dream, the Center for American Progress, and the National Immigration Law Center.
Key findings in the survey include:
- 95% currently working or in school
- 48% got a job with better working conditions
- 63% got a better paying job
- 90% got a driver’s license or state ID
- 54% bought their first car
- 12% bought their first home
- 41% have an immediate family member who is a U.S. citizen over the age of 18, 80% of whom are registered to vote
In response to Paxton’s letter, state and national immigrant rights organizations have condemned the ask of the 11-state coalition to “phase out” DACA.
The Texas Civil Rights Project has vowed to protect deferred action program and said the organization is “exploring legal options.”
“DACA recipients and their families are members of our communities,” Efrén C. Olivares, Racial and Economic Justice Director of TCRP, said in a statement. “Since the inauguration of the new administration, they have lived with the constant specter of having their protections and ability to work ripped out from under them. We will not let the Attorney General’s action go unchallenged.”
United We Dream Action, the largest immigrant youth-led organization, called the letter “outrageous” and part of the “racist agenda” of Republicans.
“It’s outrageous and wrong for these far-right Republican politicians to attack immigrant youth and DACA, a program that has worked incredibly well for the past five years,” Greisa Martinez, Advocacy Director at United We Dream Action and a DACA beneficiary, said in a statement. “Trump has said that immigrant youth should rest easy, but our lives and our families are in danger when DACA is continually attacked and threatened and when his agents raid our homes.”
This story has been updated with statements from advocacy organizations. Stay tuned for more updates.