Tennessee’s Attorney General Herbert Slatery, III, by letter dated September 1, 2017, informed Sens. Alexander and Corker that he is willing to forgo upholding the Constitution and the rule of law in favor of supporting Obama’s unilateral action that established the 2012 DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) program.
Slatery has elected to leave the coalition of ten state Attorneys General and the Governor of Idaho, which in a June 29, 2017 letter to U.S. Attorney Jeff Sessions, requested a phase out of the 2012 DACA program because there was no statutory authority for the executive branch to unilaterally confer lawful presence and work authorization on illegal aliens. It was estimated that the 2012 DACA extended to over one million illegal aliens.
The Attorneys General also requested that the memorandum and order establishing DACA be rescinded and that no new DACA permits or renewals be issued. The administration was also put on notice that the AG coalition would sue if the requested actions regarding DACA were not undertaken by September 5, 2017:
This request does not require the Executive Branch to immediately rescind DACA or Expanded DACA permits that have already been issued. This request does not require the Secretary to alter the immigration enforcement priorities contained in his separate February 20, 2017 memorandum. And this request does not require the federal government to remove any alien.
If, by September 5, 2017, the Executive Branch agrees to rescind the June 15, 2012 DACA memorandum and not to renew or issue any new DACA or Expanded DACA permits in the future, then the plaintiffs that successfully challenged DAPA and Expanded DACA will voluntarily dismiss their lawsuit currently pending in the Southern District of Texas. Otherwise, the complaint in that case will be amended to challenge both the DACA program and the remaining Expanded DACA permits.
Despite his prior written agreement to the September 5th deadline, AG Slatery in a September 1, 2o17 letter, unilaterally set a new timeline for action so as to justify pulling out of the potential and likely successful lawsuit:
As of the sending of this letter, the Administration has not agreed to rescind the June 15, 2012 DACA memorandum and order as requested by the coalition of States. At this time, our Office has decided not to challenge DACA in the litigation, because we believe there is a better approach that we outline below.
According to Slatery, the “better approach” is the new “DREAM Act of 2017” recently introduced by Republican Senator Lindsey Graham and Democrat Dick Durbin. The bill provides even greater protection for the DACA eligible by offering a path to citizenship.
Conexion Americas, a Nashville Latino advocacy organization and recipient of a $250,000 donation from Randy and Jenny Boyd is also pushing for passage of the new DREAM Act. Renata Soto, the founder and director of Conexion Americas chairs the board of the National Council of La Raza and serves on the board of GOP gubernatorial candidate Randy Boyd’s educational non-profit, “Complete Tennessee.”
Boyd and Soto are both “never-Trumpers.” Boyd is a named member of the New American Economy organization which is working to protect the DACA program.
In 2015, GOP gubernatorial candidate Mae Beavers introduced a resolution that would have put a measure on the 2018 ballot to amend the state’s constitution and allow the state’s Attorney General to be elected instead of appointed by the state’s Supreme Court.
Slatery likely understands that the lawsuit threatened by the Attorneys General coalition will succeed in ending the 2012 DACA program. Two years ago, 26 states, including Tennessee, filed a suit challenging Obama’s expansion of the DACA program and the newly proposed DAPA (Deferred Action for Parents of Americans) program which would have also provided amnesty-styled work authorization and lawful presence to almost four million illegal aliens.
A federal judge enjoined the program, holding that there was no statutory authority for the executive branch to unilaterally confer lawful presence and work authorization on illegal aliens. In June, the Secretary of Homeland Security revoked these two programs.
The 2012 DACA program was not part of the lawsuit but is subject to the very same defects relied upon by the judge in the 2015 suit.
The U.S. Supreme Court’s review ended in a 4-4 vote resulting in the lower court’s injunction remaining in effect.