About 100,000 Texas residents are watching certain developments in the nation’s capital with great interest. These people came to the United States when they were young children, and they are being protected from deportation by a program that a federal appeals court has ruled illegal. The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program was created by executive order during the Obama administration, and it has faced legal challenges ever since.
Texas vs. United States
The most serious challenge to DACA was mounted by the attorneys general of Texas and 26 other states. The plaintiffs claimed that President Obama violated the Constitution when he created the program without congressional approval, and these arguments were strong enough to convince a district court judge to issue an injunction. The decision was affirmed by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit in October. The ruling put an end to the program for new arrivals, but the appeals court left protections in place for current recipients.
Congress urged to act
Advocacy groups have called on Congress to put an end to the DACA uncertainty by passing a comprehensive immigration bill, but hopes for such an outcome are fading. Bipartisan efforts to find a compromise have stalled in the committee stage, and much of the political capital that would be needed to pass immigration reform has been spent on pushing through an omnibus spending package.
Deporting 100,000 people who have lived in America for most of their lives and consider themselves United States citizens would be devastating to the Texas economy. DACA recipients keep our cities running and educate our children, and their fight is something that Texas residents should support regardless of their political opinions. We should also avoid letting the plight of DACA recipients become enmeshed with other immigration issues like border security.