The American Civil Liberties Union of Arkansas and the national ACLU filed open records requests today demanding copies of any communications between the Arkansas Office of the Attorney General and the federal government regarding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (“DACA”) program.
This request follows a late June letter, sent by state officials from 10 states, including Arkansas, to Attorney General Jeff Sessions demanding that the Trump administration end the DACA program. If the administration does not agree by September 5 to end DACA, the states threaten to amend an existing lawsuit in front of Judge Andrew Hanen in Texas to challenge the lawfulness of the program.
The state officials may have a supportive ally in longtime DACA opponent Attorney General Sessions. In January 2017, Sessions said that DACA is “very questionable, in my opinion, constitutionally.” And responding to the states’ June 2017 letter, Sessions said, “I like it that our states and localities are holding the federal government to account and expecting us to do our responsibility to the state and locals, and that’s to enforce the law.”
“These young men and women are valued members of our communities who have worked hard and played by the rules,” said Rita Sklar, ACLU of Arkansas executive director. “Arkansans deserve answers about Attorney General Rutledge’s reprehensible attack on DACA participants and their right to live and work in the country where they grew up.”
As today’s request states, “it remains unclear whether the United States will maintain its defense of the DACA program. [The] statements [from Attorney General Sessions] raise serious questions regarding the United States’ commitment to defending the legality of [the] DACA program against the States’ threatened litigation, as well as questions about possible communications regarding the Texas litigation between the States and members of the Trump administration.”