This past May, seven states, led by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, sued the federal government to stop Obama’s unconstitutional DACA administrative amnesty program once and for all.
To date, Tennessee’s Attorney General Herbert Slatery has not joined the lawsuit. In fact, it appears that Slatery has done an about face choosing instead to support amnesty and a path to citizenship for DREAMER illegal aliens.
The Tennessee Star asked each GOP gubernatorial candidate whether as governor would they support having Tennessee join the other states suing to challenge “whether the 2012 executive action unilaterally creating DACA was itself lawful” as stated in the lawsuit?
Speaker Harwell responded that she would support the lawsuit.
Bill Lee’s campaign spokesman responded:
As Mr. Lee stated in the June 20 debate regarding his support of deploying national guard troops to border ‘we cannot be a nation without borders. We are a part of this nation and we should commit our resources to defending the border.’ The same goes for legal resources. Mr. Lee would join this lawsuit to defend our constitution and enforce the rule of law.
Diane Black’s campaign spokesman stated affirmatively that Diane “absolutely would join the lawsuit” and that as Diane has previously stated with regard to DACA:
President Obama sidestepped Congress by implementing the DACA program – there are three co-equal branches of our government and it is not up to the President to write laws. It was unconstitutional, plain and simple. I continuously fought against President Obama’s amnesty-first agenda and irresponsible display of executive overreach. Canceling this program returns legislative authority to Congress and sends the message that we will enforce our immigration laws with respect to the millions of immigrants who choose to come to this country legally.
Neither Randy Boyd nor his campaign chose to respond to the question.
In 2014, Slatery joined twenty-five other states in a lawsuit filed by Texas challenging the constitutionality of Obama’s efforts to expand the DACA program and add another amnesty program called DAPA (Deferred Action for Parents of Americans) for the illegal alien parents of U.S. born children. Taken together, the programs were estimated to offer amnesty and work permits to almost four million illegal aliens.
A federal judge enjoined the program, holding that there was no statutory authority for the executive branch to unilaterally confer lawful presence and work authorization on illegal aliens – that is the job of Congress.
Two years later the case reached the U.S. Supreme Court with only eight justices to decide after the death of Justice Antonin Scalia; they tied in a 4-4 order leaving the injunction in place.
In 2017, a coalition of ten state Attorneys General, including Slatery, signed a letter to U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions urging a final phase out 0f the 2012 DACA amnesty program or risk another lawsuit.
The original 2012 DACA program was not part of the earlier lawsuit decision and a decision by a federal judge in California earlier this year blocked the administration from ending the program forcing USCIS to continue accepting DACA renewal requests.
Seven state Attorneys General have now sued to end the 2012 DACA program that was estimated to cover over one million illegal aliens.
But months before the suit was filed, Tennessee’s Attorney General Slatery reneged on working with the other states to terminate DACA.
Instead, Slatery sent a letter to Sens. Alexander and Corker stating his support for the DREAM Act. Slatery’s letter was dated after a meeting with Stephanie Teatro, a co-Director of the TN Immigrant & Refugee Rights Coalition (TIRRC). According to Slatery, the “better approach” was the new “DREAM Act of 2017” which provided even greater protection for the DACA eligible by offering a path to citizenship.
Slatery’s push for amnesty is in line with the campaign being led by the New American Economy. In 2013, this same organization then called the Partnership for a New American Economy (PNAE), was championing the “Gang of Eight” immigration reform bill which included amnesty and was supported by Sens. Alexander and Corker.
Randy Boyd is a named member of the PNAE.
Black was noted for wanting to change the selection process according to her campaign spokesman Chris Hartline:
Diane certainly believes in changing the current process. Right now, the attorney general is not accountable to the people of Tennessee or their representatives in the legislature. Whether through direct election or legislative appointment, Diane supports changing this process and will push for that change as governor.
Bill Lee says “the governor should nominate the Attorney General and the legislature confirm that nominee.” Even though Lee says he wants to bring the Attorney General closer to the people of Tennessee whom he says are the AG’s only client, his statement rejects putting the election of the state’s chief legal advisor and law enforcement officer in the hands of the voters.
Prior to being selected as Attorney General in 2014 by the Tennessee Supreme Court, Slatery served as Haslam’s chief legal counsel. During his tenure as Attorney General, Slatery has refused to sue the federal government in connection with the refugee resettlement program, has supported illegal immigration and has pushed the state to comply with the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on same-sex marriage.