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Arizona joins 11 states in challenge to DACA

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich (Photo by Katie Campbell/Arizona Capitol Times)

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich (Photo by Katie Campbell/Arizona Capitol Times)

Attorney General Mark Brnovich is siding with President Trump in his efforts to dissolve the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

In a new multi-state legal brief, Brnovich and the Republican attorneys general from 11 other states contend that President Obama never had the legal authority to create the program in 2012. It allows those who arrived in this country illegally as children to remain without fear of deportation.

Obama is gone. And President Trump issued his own executive order shortly after being sworn in in 2017 to phase out the program.

That move has been blocked by a lower court. Now the Supreme Court has agreed to hear arguments next month.

Brnovich told Capitol Media Services he believes that Obama’s unilateral action was illegal. But he also said it isn’t necessary for the justices to reach the same conclusion in deciding whether the current president can abolish the program.

“It’s a matter of simple logic,” he said. “If President Obama can create a substantive program by himself using the executive power, then why can’t President Trump rescind that using executive action?”

At issue are the fates of about 670,000 who are currently in the program, including approximately 25,000 in Arizona. If DACA ceases to exist, they would be subject to deportation.

But Brnovich said he believes if the Supreme Court sides with Trump it will be in the longer-term interest of DACA recipients.

He pointed out that even Obama called the program a temporary solution designed to provide some legal protections to those who effectively have known no other home than in the United States while Congress came up with a more permanent plan for immigration reform.

That, however, has not happened. And Brnovich said he believes it will not — at least not as long as DACA exists.

“It’s taking the pressure off Congress to do something,” he said.

“DACA recipients are being used as political footballs by both parties,” Brnovich said. “There’s no incentive for politicians in Washington, D.C. to solve this problem because they’d rather have it around as a political issue.”

And Brnovich said it’s not just about pressuring Democrats to support the things the president wants, like more funding for a border wall, to get permanent protections for DACA recipients.

This isn’t the first time that Brnovich claimed that DACA is not legal and that the Obama administration had no right to create it in the first place absent congressional authorization. He advanced similar arguments last year to the U.S. Supreme Court as Arizona sought to defend its practice of denying driver’s licenses to those in the program.

The justices rejected the arguments without comment and the state now issues licenses to DACA recipients.


  1. His position is no surprise nor is his siding with a spiteful and vengeful, childish president. Before the move to block DACA recipients, as many as 200,000 of them were enrolled at a university. They are on path to be good, productive citizens from which the state can only benefit. To deny them a driver’s license was petty and ignorant because it also necessity car insurance if they did drive and some probably did, so better to be insured for both parties in an accident. Phoenix is among the top growing business communities in the nation and skilled workers make education, including for DACAs, a priority to meet those needs for high quality jobs. Arizona’s republican majority has bowed to the wishes of the Kochs and their grip on Arizona through ALEC and their “Freedom” classes at ASU and UofA for far too long. At least 15 Trump EOs reversed or curtailed Obama’s initiatives overturning environmental regulations for our safety, both dangerous for the planet’s future and out of sheer obsessive need to feed his base and his ego. It’s time for Arizona to grow up and welcome these young people in the only home they have ever really known and keep a promise Trump himself made to honor DACA instead of turning it into a political campaign ad.

  2. Considering Obama’s executive order goes against congressionally codified law of the land, and that DACA receiptiants can Not by definition be productive CITIZENS of Arizona, it is time to terminate this illegal executive order and either deport or give legigimate status to these individuals. America is either a country of laws or we are not….

  3. What a greedy person and disappoint for the United States is Mr. Brnovich. As a dreamer I contribute to the country’s economy, have two jobs, report taxes, no tickets, educated, and always trying to be a good citizen. So why should someone take all this away when this country has been my home since I was 5. Politians who give themselves the right to remove DACA in their minds should worry about other important issues in the country. As a country we need to move forward not backwards. People really need some common sense in their lives.

  4. In reply to Brend’s comment, are you justifying the behavior of those who brought you here illegally?

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