Houston, TX – MALDEF (Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund) held a telephone briefing for reporters Wednesday to discuss a federal court hearing on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) initiative.

The court deferred ruling on DACA, requested additional briefing, and took both a motion for preliminary injunction and a motion to dismiss under further consideration.

Texas filed a lawsuit, Texas, et al. v. United States, et al., against the federal government in May challenging the constitutionality of DACA. MALDEF later filed a motion to intervene on behalf of 22 DACA recipients. The court granted the motion.

Judge Andrew S. Hanen of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas heard argument on a request by the states for a preliminary injunction to force the federal government to cease renewals of current grants of deferred action pending resolution of the lawsuit. The Trump administration does not currently accept new applications for DACA.

A recording of today's call with MALDEF attorneys, pro bono co-counsel and a DACA recipient and intervenor is available here.

“The Texas request to stop DACA comes in the context of several previously-filed cases nationwide and three orders requiring the federal government to continue DACA renewals and, later this month, to accept and process new applications for DACA,” said Thomas A. Saenz, MALDEF president and general counsel. “This case cannot override those other rulings, so even if the unwarranted Texas preliminary injunction is granted, the federal government, despite Trump/Sessions animosity toward DACA and its recipients, will have to seek higher court guidance to reconcile conflicting court direction.”

“Today's hearing brought to light several fatal flaws in the DACA challenge brought by Texas and several other states, including their unexplained delay of over five years in filing suit, and the fact that they cannot identify any harms caused by DACA,” said Nina Perales, MALDEF vice president of litigation. “In fact, DACA recipients benefit the states by studying, working and paying taxes.”

“Ropes & Gray feels very privileged to be working alongside MALDEF to represent the inspiring DACA recipients who stepped up to defend DACA in the Texas litigation,” said pro bono co-counsel Douglas Hallward-Driemeier, partner at the law firm Ropes & Gray LLP. “These are students and young graduates who have only known the United States as home, and their contributions to our communities enrich all our lives. It is critically important that the court hear their defense of DACA’s lawfulness, which the Trump administration has refused to do.”

“It is unfortunate that my home state of Texas continues to target DACA by claiming that DACA recipients are an injury to the state,” said Karla Perez, a DACA recipient represented by MALDEF. “DACA has allowed me, like my DACA recipients across the country, to live life without fear, pursue our dreams, and support our families and communities.

“I am proud of our legal team's work to uplift the experiences of DACA recipients because this case cannot be about us without us.”