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HARLINGEN, RGV – Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton did not directly mention suing the federal government over the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program on a visit to the Rio Grande Valley on Thursday.

However, he did mention the importance of upholding the Constitution in a speech at a luncheon hosted by the Harlingen Area Chamber of Commerce and held at the TSTC Cultural Art Center in Harlingen.

Attorney General Paxton sent a letter June 29 to U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions requesting the administration to “phase out” the DACA program. He gave the Trump Administration until September 5 to respond.

DACA was introduced by President Obama as an executive order. If it is phased out, tens of thousands of “Dreamers” would no longer be able to work and could be deported.

Paxton did not take questions from the media after the luncheon, instead making the Director of Communications for the Office of the Attorney General, Marc Rylander, available to reporters. Rylander confirmed that Texas, along with nine other states, intend to sue the federal government over the constitutionality of DACA.

“No, we are suing the federal government over the Constitution,” Rylander said. “It doesn’t matter what policy it is as he [AG Paxton] explained today in his remarks. It may be policy that we like or that we agree with, or that we don’t like or disagree with. The fact is the president of the United States, as ordered by the Constitution, cannot just come out and make up law.”

Rylander went on to say: “He (the president) might come out and make up law that we all get Friday’s off, we would love that, I would love that. I’d like that right now and be off tomorrow, however, even if I love that law, it’s wrong, he’s violated the constitution.

“This was set into place by a president who walked out and created law. All we’re doing is saying, send that to Congress, make that law properly, voted on and enacted by the people’s representatives who are in Congress to create law and we’ll uphold and defend it. This is not about policy, this is about the Constitution and we are all about defending the Constitution, that’s what this comes down to.”

La Union del Pueblo Entero members were outside of the TSTC Cultural Art Center protesting the Attorney General’s visit and his stance on DACA. LUPE is a community group that assists low-income families in colonias in Hidalgo County.

In a press release, Abraham Diaz, an education specialist with LUPE and recipient of DACA, urged local elected officials to defend DACA.

“While we protest Ken Paxton’s visit and denounce his hate, we call on our elected officials to stand up and #DefendDACA and dreamers,” Diaz said. “President Trump must keep programs that protect our immigrant community members from deportation like DACA and TPS. Elected officials should support legislative relief that is clean from enforcement. Immigrant youth do not want their parents and communities targeted by Trump’s deportation forces.”

When asked for a comment on the protestors outside of the luncheon protesting the Attorney General, Rylander said they support their first amendment right to protest.

“I thought they were our cheering section are they not?” Rylander said. “Listen, this is what makes America great. You (reporters) practice it every day in the work you do. The first amendment of the Constitution guarantees people the right to a voice, and people can express that voice however they choose and the Attorney General spends everyday fighting for Texas and the Constitution.”

Rylander said Paxton has a sworn duty to defend the Constitution of the United States.

“If we’re going to defend the Constitution we must defend all of it. And so anywhere we go, when we have people who are protestors, I often joke that they are our cheering section, perhaps not cheering for us, but they are cheering on the very thing that we care about and that is the US Constitution. So they have a right to protest and they should carry out that right peacefully as they feel necessary.”

The Attorney General has not received a response from the Trump Administration about his DACA letter, Rylander said.

Rylander said Paxton will continue to fight laws his office finds unconstitutional, including DACA, until Congress takes action on the program.

“Congress writes bills,” Rylander said. “Congress makes law. That’s the Constitution’s direction. Congress makes law and so until Congress makes a law, we’re going to fight it. Because these laws, whether we like them or not, it’s not the impact, its not the emotion, it is the fact that we would see a continuing chipping away at the U.S. Constitution and we would wake up one day in a post-constitution America.

“We’re not willing to watch the constitution of the United States be chipped away even if we like some of the policies people are enacting whether its President Obama, President Trump or any future president we are not going to allow, sit back and allow a president to walk out wave a wand and create laws.”

Editor’s Note: The above story is the first in a two-part series on Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s visit to the Rio Grande Valley. Part Two, focusing on his speech to the Harlingen Area Chamber of Commerce, will be published in our next edition.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Abraham Diaz, an education specialist with LUPE and recipient of DACA, urged local elected officials to defend DACA. What makes Diaz an “education specialist” and who does he ‘educate’ in what?

    NEWSFLASH: One president’s EO can certainly and easily be terminated by another. It has NO FORCE of law.

    “While we protest Ken Paxton’s visit and denounce his hate, we call on our elected officials to stand up and #DefendDACA and dreamers.”

    DACA privileges were conferred by one president. They are not rights !
    And I would never defend ANYONE who equates or describes law and order with hate.

  2. Some one pass this along to the ‘education specialist.’ He needs some educating.

    “Those who enter the country illegally … disrespect the rule of law and they are showing disregard for those who are following the law. We simply cannot allow people to pour into the United States undetected, undocumented, unchecked and circumventing the line of people waiting patiently, diligently and LAWFULLY to become immigrants.”

    Barack Obama