A group representing 22 recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program plans to defend it in federal court.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is leading a seven-state lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the DACA program.
Paxton asked U.S. Southern District Judge Andrew Hanen to block the federal government from accepting any new DACA applications and to prevent DACA renewals.
Paxton said DACA is unconstitutional because it was created from a presidential executive order, not by Congress.
“The purpose of our lawsuit is to phase out the unlawful program created by President Obama and finally give Congress the motivation to pass immigration reform,” said Marc Rylander, with the attorney general’s office.
U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said the Department of Justice will not defend DACA in this case. So a federal judge has granted permission to the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund to take up the defense.
Attorney Nina Perales said the MALDEF will represent 22 DACA recipients in this case. But before either side has a chance to argue DACA's constitutionality, Hanen will have to decide whether or not he has the jurisdiction to hear the case.
There are other federal lawsuits challenging DACA, including one in California.
Earlier this year, the state of Texas, through the attorney's general's office, entered the California case. A federal judge struck down the states' request to put DACA on hold, and the case remains pending.
“Texas has not gotten what it wanted in the California case, and so he came to Texas to file a lawsuit to try to get a different result. In the law, it's a strong consideration that a court should not hear a case if it is considered a collateral attack on a sister court,” Perales said.
Perales said MALDEF will ask to have the Texas case dismissed during the Aug. 8 hearing in Houston.