Arkansas's Rutledge joins effort to end protection for immigrants who came as children | Arkansas Blog

Friday, June 30, 2017

Arkansas's Rutledge joins effort to end protection for immigrants who came as children

Posted By on Fri, Jun 30, 2017 at 7:42 AM

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and nine other state legal officers, including Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge, have asked Donald Trump to end the Obama program that allowed people who came to the U.S. as children to remain and work without fear of deportation. From the Texas Tribune:

In a letter to U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Paxton urged the White House to rescind the 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program. DACA applies to undocumented immigrants that came to the country before they were 16 years old and were 30 or younger as of June 2012. It awards recipients a renewable, two-year work permit and a reprieve from deportation proceedings.

As of August 2016, more than 220,000 undocumented immigrants in Texas had applied for a permit or a renewal of one under the program, and nearly 200,000 of those have been approved, according to government statistics. It’s the second-highest total behind California’s estimated 387,000 applications and 359,000 approvals during the same time frame.

“We respectfully request that the Secretary of Homeland Security phase out the DACA program,” Paxton wrote. He was joined by the attorneys general of Arkansas, Alabama, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Nebraska, South Carolina, Tennessee and West Virginia, as well as Idaho Gov. C.L. Otter.
Some 12,000 people in Arkansas are protected by the program, about half of them working, according to the Migration Policy Institute.

Trump has rescinded some earlier immigration policies but kept some of the DACA protections in place. The state officials want this phased out. They claim this change wouldn't "require the federal government to remove any alien."

The ACLU of Arkansas criticized Rutledge for joining in a threat to sue if Trump doesn't end DACA:

The American Civil Liberties Union of Arkansas today condemned Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge for joining a group of state officials urging the Trump administration to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. DACA allows immigrants who came to the U.S. as children, known as DREAMers, to apply for a work permit and temporary protection against deportation.

“It’s shocking that just a few days before we’ll celebrate the birth of our democracy as a nation of immigrants, Attorney General Rutledge is demonstrating such a callous disregard for the very people she’s supposed to protect and serve,” said Rita Sklar, ACLU of Arkansas Executive Director. “These law-abiding young people came to the U.S. as children and are valued members of our communities. Telling the Trump administration to eliminate their protected status - ‘or else’ - is truly beyond the pale. We condemn this attempt to threaten the federal government into targeting DREAMers and will continue to defend the rights of all Arkansans.”

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