The ACLU has asked Gov. Asa Hutchinson and Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge for communications between their offices and the federal government about the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
Rutledge and officials from nine other states wrote Attorney General Jeff Sessions demanding that the Trump administration end the program, which provided some shelter for undocumented aliens who came to the U.S. as children. They have a pending lawsuit challenging the legality of the program and have threatened to go forward next month if the program isn't ended.
The ACLU notes that Sessions himself has questioned the constitutionality of the program and praised states that want to hold the federal government to account.
The ACLU sees it differently.
“These young men and women are valued members of our communities who have worked hard and played by the rules,” said Rita Sklar, ACLU of Arkansas executive director. “Arkansans deserve answers about Attorney General Rutledge’s reprehensible attack on DACA participants and their right to live and work in the country where they grew up.”
As today’s request states, “it remains unclear whether the United States will maintain its defense of the DACA program. [The] statements [from Attorney General Sessions] raise serious questions regarding the United States’ commitment to defending the legality of [the] DACA program against the States’ threatened litigation, as well as questions about possible communications regarding the Texas litigation between the States and members of the Trump administration.”
I've asked for reactions from both the governor and attorney general. The Freedom of Information Act exempts "working papers" of both officials from the FOI. These communications arguably wouldn't constitute working papers, though both offices have traditionally given the broadest possible definition to the term, both currently and historically.
UPDATE: Judd Deere, spokesman for Rutledge, didn'tinitially answer the question about whether the office would comply with the request for communications. Instead, he referred me to a statement Rutledge issued previously on her position that DACA was unlawful though she said she wasn't proposing immediate deportation of those allowed in under the provision.
Pressed on the issue of a response to the documents request, Deere said:
The office has received the request. At this time, I do not have any further comment.
A spokesman for the governor said the office had received the request but had no comment at this time.