Kansas won’t move forward with a lawsuit against the federal government after President Donald Trump announced plans to end a policy that allows people who entered the country illegally as children to remain in the United States.
Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt was one of 10 state attorneys general to sign a letter in June urging the Trump administration to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals by Sept. 5 or face a legal challenge.
The program, which was established by executive action under former President Barack Obama, allows people who came to the country illegally as children — often called “Dreamers” — to avoid deportation and obtain work permits.
The Trump administration on Tuesday announced plans to end the program after a six-month delay to give Congress time to pass new legislation. Schmidt’s office released a statement late Tuesday morning saying the Kansas attorney general would stipulate to the dismissal of the pending lawsuit.
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“As unilaterally declared by President Obama, DACA always has been a cruel illusion. No president has authority to keep the promises the Obama administration made to the Dreamers; President Obama said so himself more than two dozen times,” Schmidt said in a statement.
“The Trump administration’s actions today return the issue to the only place constitutionally empowered to resolve it: The United States Congress.”
Schmidt’s comments contrast with the man he shares an office building with in Topeka: Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach.
Kobach, a candidate for Kansas governor who advised Trump on immigration on the campaign trail, objected strongly to the six-month delay during an appearance Tuesday on Fox News ahead of the announcement.
“It’s illegal and it should end now. We shouldn’t say, ‘Well, we recognize that it’s illegal and we recognize it’s violating our constitution, but let’s just keep on violating our constitution for six months or however long,’ ” Kobach said.
Kobach clarified at his office in Topeka that he still considered it “a very good day for the rule of law” because a “slow end to the program is still an end to the program.” He also said that individual states were weighing whether to move forward with the lawsuit.
“Each state’s making their mind up right now, so they have to weigh a number of things. One is the probability of success. The probability of success on the merits is very high, but a judge now might say I don’t have to get to the merits because it will be moot in X number of months,” he said.
Kobach said that he had advised states contemplating DACA prior to Tuesday, but that he had not spoken “with the relevant states today” about whether they should still pursue legal action. Schmidt’s spokeswoman said that Kobach had not reached out to their office.
In Kansas alone, more than 6,000 people are participating in that program, according to the American Civil Liberties Union of Kansas, which put out a statement condemning the roles Schmidt and Kobach played in causing Trump to end the program.
Micah Kubic, the executive director of the ACLU of Kansas, said Dreamers “give back to our country in innumerable ways: they are our doctors, soldiers, teachers, and students. Our neighbors, family, and friends.”
Despite Schmidt’s support for ending the program, he cast doubt on the notion that the country would deport hundreds of thousands of Dreamers.
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“The obvious reality is our country is not going to round up and deport 800,000 people who in the past were brought here as children, grew up here, have committed no crimes, and now have relied in good faith on the Obama administration’s false but enticing promises,” Schmidt said. “Congress needs to enact immigration law that humanely and responsibly fixes this problem once and for all. There is no substitute for addressing this matter through the lawmaking process the Constitution establishes.”
The Wichita Eagle’s Jonathan Shorman contributed to this article.