Citing ‘human element,’ TN AG backs off threatened immigration lawsuit

Herbert Slatery, who earlier joined other Republican state attorneys general in a letter threatening a the Trump administration with a lawsuit over immigration policy, said Friday in a letter to Sens. Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker that he has changed his mind.

From the CNN report:

The Tennessee attorney general had been part of a group of 10 states that were threatening the Trump administration to add the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program to ongoing litigation in an unfriendly court if President Donald Trump doesn’t sunset the program by September 5. That ultimatum was led by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and was issued earlier this summer. (Previous post HERE.)

While (Slatery said in the letter) he still doubts the constitutionality of the Obama administration program, which protects young undocumented immigrants brought to the US as children from deportation through executive authority, he said he would not pursue a court challenge.

“There is a human element to this, however, that is not lost on me and should not be ignored,” Slatery wrote. “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. They have an appreciation for the opportunities afforded them by our country. … At this time, our office has decided not to challenge DACA in the litigation, because we believe there is a better approach.”

Slatery specifically referenced legislation proposed by Sens. Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican, and Dick Durbin, an Illinois Democrat, that would write protections like those of DACA into law permanently.

“I encourage your serious consideration of this proposed legislation,” Slatery wrote to Corker and Alexander. “It is my sincere hope that the important issues raised by the states will be resolved by the people’s representatives in the halls of Congress, not in a courtroom.”

Earlier Friday, House Speaker Paul Ryan and other prominent conservative lawmakers implored Trump to not scrap DACA by the September 5 deadline in order to give Congress an opportunity to write a solution for the popular program into law. One of the chief Republican criticisms of the program has been that President Barack Obama used executive action to create it, rather than legislation.

On Thursday, Paxton reiterated his intention to go through with the program, telling the Texas Tribune through a spokeswoman that the state is prepared to move forward despite the devastation in Texas from Hurricane Harvey.

Note: Text of the letter HERE.

5 Responses to Citing ‘human element,’ TN AG backs off threatened immigration lawsuit

  • David Price III says:

    This is a false premise on the part of the Attorney General and he should focus on enforcing the law as his position requires not act as a social psychologist, which he is not. Leave that to the leftists. By getting this issue into court, it will bring leverage to either decide the issue or get Congress off its scleric lack of action on this matter.

  • Jennie Young says:

    Thank God for a clear-thinking Attorney General. Why conservatives think it’s in anybody’s interest to abandon our sense of decency and compassion is beyond me. The AT isn’t acting as a social psychologist; he’s acting as a Christian. Every major Christian denomination is pleading with lawmakers to support DACA as the compassionate thing to do. Whether we like to admit it or not, our country has depended economically on illegal immigration, and with 40% of the construction force in Texas illegal, seems like maybe they’re going to need them or pay double or more to any Americans who want their jobs. There are smart ways of dealing with illegal immigration, but a ruthless “follow the law” approach could, in fact, wreck our economy if we follow through. How much do we think we’ll have to pay for veggies and fruits at the supermarkets if farmers can even get them to market at all? We can do this smart or we can be stupid. Kudos to Tennessee’s AG. I never though I would be able to say that about this issue. And, yeah, I’m a leftie.

  • Stuart I. Anderson says:

    To expect a RINO establishment Republicrat to fight liberals in Congress or in the courts is to set yourself up for chronic disappointment. Tennessee badly needs electoral reform. We need closed primaries, runoffs, and isn’t it about time we elected our Attorney General like almost every other state in the union so we can send the Slaterys of the world who can’t seem to put the interests of citizens above those here illegally packing.

  • Michael Lottman says:

    Three cheers for Slatery–and I mean it–although he had no business filing in this case to begin with. It is not the state attorney general’s business to enforce federal law in the way this lawsuit purports to do (advising his own clients is OK), and Slatery essentially had no clients except himself when he filed, certainly not his chief client the governor. Apparently there is a human heart beating underneath that lawyer’s three-piece suit, and he saw that the Dreamers were a case where human and humanistic factors had to be considered, not (for once) just legal technicalities. Even Trump, who has been on a real cruelty kick lately, seems to be beginning to waver at the instance of a lot of other Republicans.

  • Claudia Lever says:

    I commend AG Slatery for changing his mind and publicizing his decision. Now we should all urge Congress to pass a law affirming the DACA program and allow these Dreamers to continue with their education, get jobs, and contribute to this country. They should not be left in limbo, inconstant fear of being deported.

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