August 10, 2017

Los Angeles, CA - Please attribute the following statement on a federal court’s dismissal of a Texas lawsuit seeking preemptive approval of the anti-immigrant law Texas SB 4 to Thomas A. Saenz, president and general counsel of MALDEF: "In a well-reasoned written decision, United States District Judge Sam Sparks yesterday rebuked Texas state Attorney General Ken Paxton's premature Austin-based litigation to defend the constitutionally-flawed SB 4. Recognizing that the state was seeking an improper advisory opinion when it filed the preemptive lawsuit challenging some of the major opponents of the proposed SB 4, including MALDEF, yesterday's decision leaves the constitutionality of the enacted SB 4 to be determined by the proper federal court in San Antonio, where motions for preliminary injunction are now pending.

While yesterday's decision exposes one attempt to abuse the federal courts by Paxton, his insistence in a recent letter to the federal government that he can convert a three-year-old case challenging Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA) into a challenge against Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), which has been in effect for over five years, is another pernicious attempt to manipulate the court system. In both cases – the premature litigation on SB 4 and the litigation metamorphosis on DACA – Paxton demonstrates a disturbing pathology with respect to litigating cases on immigration issues. There is an easy solution for Paxton's pathology: leave the issue of immigration to the federal government where it constitutionally belongs.

As yesterday's decision noted, if the Austin litigation were proper, every government would regularly seek a preemptive holding of constitutionality for every law. Similarly, if converting a case into something totally new were proper, every litigant would do the same – if only to avoid filing fees for a new case. Our hope is that yesterday's decision on SB 4 will encourage Paxton to stop his serial abuse of the federal courts, including his impotent DACA threat."

Founded in 1968, MALDEF is the nation's leading Latino legal civil rights organization. Often described as the "Latino Legal Voice for Civil Rights in America" MALDEF promotes social change through advocacy, communications, community education, and litigation in the areas of education, employment, immigrant rights, and political access. For more information on MALDEF, please visit:

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