August 23, 2018

Los Angeles, CA - Thomas A. Saenz, president and general counsel of MALDEF (Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund), issued the followed statement today on Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton repeated misstatements about legal challenges to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) initiative:

“On July 29, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton went on ‘Inside Texas Politics’ on WFAA-TV and lied about the challenge he is leading to the legality of DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals). More than once, he asserted that the case was not a threat to current DACA recipients, but only to new, future potential applicants for DACA. This was either an appalling demonstration of incompetence or an astounding willingness to lie blatantly about his case. In fact, in its lawsuit, Texas challenges the DACA program in its entirety, including seeking to stop any renewals of DACA for current recipients. On WFAA, Paxton was interested in having people believe – quite incorrectly – that he is doing nothing to threaten currently-employed immigrant youth making significant economic and other contributions as a result of receiving work authorization under DACA.

As of late last week, Paxton has had the clear opportunity to scale back his challenge to be true to what he wanted Texas viewers to believe on July 29. Last week, the judge in NAACP v. Trump, one of several cases challenging Donald Trump’s attempt to end DACA, acting on the wishes of the plaintiffs, agreed not to require that the Trump administration immediately accept new applications for DACA. This means that none of the several federal-court orders requiring that DACA continue would currently require anything more than accepting and processing renewals for current DACA recipients. Yet, the threat of new applications being granted was a key reason for Paxton to seek a preliminary injunction to place DACA on hold while the Texas-led litigation reaches resolution. However, with the judge’s conclusion in the NAACP case, there is no longer any reason to bar future applications for DACA.

If stopping new applications was Paxton’s main interest, he would withdraw the Texas request for a preliminary injunction. Paxton has instead done nothing. That means that any preliminary injunction in the Texas case would only affect the very DACA recipients that Paxton assured WFAA he was not targeting.

To be clear, previous prevarications aside, Paxton is currently pursuing an order that would threaten all of the hundreds of thousands of current recipients of DACA in Texas and nationwide.

Of course, any order would have to be reconciled, by a higher court, with the equally binding orders by judges around the country requiring DACA renewals to continue.

But the point is that Paxton should stop misleading Texans, and be honest and candid about specifically targeting currently-employed DACA recipients contributing critically to the Texas economy.”

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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