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Feds Ask Court to Move Forward with Immigration Program, Perhaps Without Texas

Gov. Greg Abbott appeared on Fox News Sunday to talk about Texas' resistance to the Obama administration's Deferred Action Program.

The Obama administration wants to move forward with its Deferred Action Program that would shield some illegal immigrants from deportation. But a federal court halted the administration's program last week.

On Monday, the administration asked the court to lift last week's order. In its request, the administration is offering options: Let the program go forward nationwide or let it go forward everywhere except in Texas.

Last week, U.S. District Court Judge Andrew Hanen in Brownsville found that the deferred action program called DAPA would be an economic hardship to states like Texas.

Economic hardship was one argument then-Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott used when he and 25 other state attorneys general challenged the Obama Administration’s executive action.

Greg Abbott is now Texas Governor. On Sunday he was on Fox News and said the administration is "giving work permits [and] driver's licenses."

At a cost to the state.

Credit Joy Diaz, KUT News
Immigration Attorney Jacqueline Watson

But immigration attorney Jacqueline Watson challenges Abbott's math. She says each of the estimated one and a half million immigrants who might benefit from the deferred action program would pay the federal government $450 per application. That right there is $675 million. Watson says "choosing to look at [the] cost [of] driver's licenses" is "petty" and "forgetting the fees paid by people and then [the cost for] insurance and the boom to businesses. What we stand to gain far outweighs what we stand to lose. Especially on social security taxes."

For the time being, the fight continues through the courts. It's likely neither side will relent until the Supreme Court has a say. Abbott's successor as Texas Attorney General, Ken Paxton, has promised to continue the fight. And time may be on Paxton's side. Courts can be notoriously slow, and there's less than two years left in the Obama administration.

Texas Standard reporter Joy Diaz has amassed a lengthy and highly recognized body of work in public media reporting. Prior to joining Texas Standard, Joy was a reporter with Austin NPR station KUT on and off since 2005. There, she covered city news and politics, education, healthcare and immigration.
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