Greg Abbott

Texas Governor

U.S. v. Texas marked the 31st time that Governor Greg Abbott had sued the federal government since 2009. Abbott has previously outlined his philosophy on lawsuits by stating, "I go into the office, I sue the federal government, and then I go home."

About

  • Abbott has made immigration crackdowns a key part of his efforts to shore up support among social conservatives and the Tea Party, including:
    • Ending the state refugee resettlement program, forcing agencies to negotiate directly with the federal government for funding
    • Adding approximately $800 million to border funding in 2015 and 2017, the results of which have been unclear.
    • Actively supporting SB4

Beliefs

  • Governor Abbott signed SB4 into law on Facebook Live. The law, which is widely considered one of the harshest state immigration laws currently on the books, will allow law enforcement officials to inquire about a person’s immigration status when they are held for any legal detention including a routine traffic stop. The Texas Conference of Catholic Bishops strongly opposed the bill and prior to its signing on a Sunday away from public scrutiny they had called on the Governor to veto it.

Attacks on DACA

  • Greg Abbott, then the governor-elect and outgoing TX Attorney General, indicated shortly after President Obama’s 2014 announcement of the DAPA/expanded DACA program Texas’ intent to sue. 26 states in total joined the lawsuit, with Texas at the helm. From there, the newly elected Attorney General, Ken Paxton, carried out the lawsuit through the U.S. Supreme Court.
  • The case went through the District Court in Brownsville, Texas, where Judge Andrew S. Hanen, thought to be sympathetic to Texas’s view, sided with Texas, and issued a preliminary injunction, 2 days before the new policy was to go into effect, and indefinitely prevent the Obama Administration from implementing the program.
  • The United States immediately filed a stay at the District level (February 23, 2015) to temporarily lift the injunction while the case made its way to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals. Judge Hanen, however, denied that request on April 7th, 2015.
  • The 5th Circuit affirmed the District ruling while still denying the United States’s motion to stay in order to implement the program. The United States decided to appeal to the Supreme Court to reverse the ruling, filing in November, 2015.
  • The U.S Supreme Court agreed to hear the case, but remained divided and gave no decision on the case in a 4-4 tie. The injunction remained as the United States petitioned for a rehearing, under which the Court said it would review upon the nomination of a new Justice.
  • Finally, in June of this year, the new Trump Administration rescinded the DAPA memo. The program never commenced, and those who would have received deferred action and temporary work permits, never had the chance to apply.
  • Abbott’s Attorney General Ken Paxton thanked President Trump, but swiftly also gave notice that the United States should do the same and rescind the DACA program, threatening to amend the U.S. v. Texas case to make the DACA program and whether it is Constitutional, its central question.
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