Tennessee AG drops out of DACA lawsuit – what changed?

By Jack Crowe, DCNF DCNF

Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery III reneged Friday on his threat to sue if the Trump administration fails to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

Slatery conceded a change of heart in a letter sent to Republican Tennessee Sens. Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker Friday.

“Many of the DACA recipients, some of whose records I reviewed, have outstanding accomplishments and laudable ambitions, which if achieved, will be of great benefit and service to our country,” he continued. “They have an appreciation for the opportunities afforded to them by our country.”

Slatery was one of nine state attorneys general who signed a June letter, threatening to sue the Department of Justice if the Trump administration fails to begin a phase out of the DACA program by Sept. 5.

The coalition of state attorneys general, led by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, argued the amnesty provided to illegal immigrants through DACA is illegal. The coalition is joined by White House immigration hawks, like Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who argue DACA is an unconstitutional measure that rewards illegal immigrants.

DACA grants protection and a temporary work visa to some 800,000 immigrants brought to the country illegally as children, as implemented by an executive order in 2012.

In Slater’s Friday letter he expressed support for a separate immigration bill that establishes a path to citizenship for young immigrants who pass a background check and meet certain employment standards.

The bill, introduced by GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Sen. Richard Durbin of Illinois, would grant citizenship to over 1 million illegal immigrants who arrived in the U.S. before turning 18. The policy also requires that an applicant have a clean criminal record, be enrolled in higher education or the military, or have a job.

Slatery’s pivot comes hours after President Donald Trump told reporters he would issue a final decision on the future of the program by Monday.

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