State AG Calls on Tennessee Senators to Enact on DREAM Act

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Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery III

WASHINGTON, DC — After a day of fevered speculation about the future of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, the White House today delayed any decision about the future of this popular and successful program until next Tuesday, September 5. Remarkably, today’s biggest DACA-related development came not from Washington, DC, but from Nashville, Tennessee.

In a letter addressed to Tennessee’s Republican Senators – Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker  – Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery III announced that Tennessee would no longer support a challenge to the DACA program. Previously, Slatery had been a signatory to the letter spearheaded by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton calling on President Trump to end DACA under threat of a legal challenge to the program should DACA remain on the books past September 5. Slatery’s letter also called on Senators Alexander and Corker to back the bipartisan Dream Act in the U.S. Senate:

There is a human element to this…that is not lost on me and should not be ignored. 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.

….At this time, our Office has decided not to challenge DACA in the litigation, because we believe there is a better approach that we outline below….

Your colleagues, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R- S.C) and Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Ill), have introduced legislation addressing the DACA program (S. 1 61 5). Whether this particular legislation is a viable solution is a matter for congressional debate. It is not a comprehensive answer to our immigration policy challenges, but it would be a very good start. As I have admired your careers over the years, I have perhaps been most impressed at how you take on difficult problems and lead us to a better place. I encourage your serious consideration of this proposed legislation.

According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice Education Fund, “Tennessee’s Attorney General has seen the light – powered by what Dreamers bring to America, powered by advocates on the ground in Tennessee, led by the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition (TIRRC), and powered by employers who want to keep valued employees. Slatery, finally, gets it right: DACA should stay on the books until the Dream Act is enacted. We call on Republicans to pressure Texas AG Ken Paxton to back off, so that DACA can stay in place until Congress passes a permanent solution. We call on the other state Attorneys General to follow Tennessee’s lead and walk away from a tactic that is blowing up in Republican faces. And we call on Senators Alexander and Corker to step up at this critical moment to cosponsor the bipartisan Dream Act authored by Senators Durbin (D-IL) and Graham (R-SC).”

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