15 states sue Trump administration for ending DACA

RSTV Bureau
New York: President Donald Trump speaks to the media in the lobby of Trump Tower in New York, Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2017. AP/PTI

New York: President Donald Trump speaks to the media in the lobby of Trump Tower in New York, Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2017. AP/PTI

Fifteen states and the District of Columbia have sued Trump administration for ending the law that protected against deportation of young immigrants.

The lawsuit filed in federal court in Brooklyn asked a judge to strike down as unconstitutional the president’s action involving the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA.

It called the move “a culmination of President Trump’s oft-stated commitments … to punish and disparage people with Mexican roots.”

The population of DACA participants known as “dreamers” ranges from hundreds to tens of thousands in several states. They were brought to the US illegally as children or came with families who overstayed visas.

Trump’s plan is “cruel, shortsighted, inhumane” and driven by a personal bias against Mexicans and Latinos, New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman said.

He said the 42,000 New Yorkers with protected status under the program are largely model citizens.

“Dreamers play by the rules. Dreamers work hard. Dreamers pay taxes. For most of them, America is the only home they’ve ever known. And they deserve to stay here,” he added.

Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum called the government’s action “indefensible” and said Trump was “playing chicken” by giving Congress six months to improve DACA or cancel it.

Oklahoma City: Eliza Sanchez, left, and Victoria Espinoza, right, hold a sign in support of DACA at a news conference urging people to contact their legislators in Oklahoma City, Tuesday, Sept. 5, 2017. President Donald Trump's administration will "wind down" a program protecting hundreds of thousands of young immigrants who were brought into the country illegally as children, Attorney General Jeff Sessions declared Tuesday, calling the Obama administration's program "an unconstitutional exercise of authority."  AP/PTI

Oklahoma City: Eliza Sanchez, left, and Victoria Espinoza, right, hold a sign in support of DACA at a news conference urging people to contact their legislators in Oklahoma City, Tuesday, Sept. 5, 2017. President Donald Trump’s administration will “wind down” a program protecting hundreds of thousands of young immigrants who were brought into the country illegally as children, Attorney General Jeff Sessions declared Tuesday, calling the Obama administration’s program “an unconstitutional exercise of authority.” AP/PTI

The lawsuit filed on Wednesday says rescinding DACA will injure state-run colleges and universities, upset workplaces and damage companies and economies that include immigrants covered under the program.

The lawsuit noted that Harvard University has over 50 DACA students while Tufts University has more than 25.

“The consequence of the president’s animus-driven decision is that approximately 800,000 persons who have availed themselves of the program will ultimately lose its protections” and be exposed to deportation, the lawsuit says.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions said on Tuesday that the program will end in six months so Congress can have time to find a legislative solution for people in the program.

Plaintiffs in the lawsuit are New York, Massachusetts, Washington, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and Virginia.

Minneapolis: Evelin Hernandez cries as she hold a sign reading "My dreams matter. Don't shatter them." at a protest against the announcement that the Trump administration is ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, known as DACA, in Minneapolis, Tuesday, Sept. 5, 2017. Hernandez is a special education paraprofessional and a DREAM act recipient. AP/PTI

Minneapolis: Evelin Hernandez cries as she hold a sign reading “My dreams matter. Don’t shatter them.” at a protest against the announcement that the Trump administration is ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, known as DACA, in Minneapolis, Tuesday, Sept. 5, 2017. Hernandez is a special education paraprofessional and a DREAM act recipient. AP/PTI

California, one of the most solid Democratic states, was noticeably absent.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra plans to file a separate lawsuit because a quarter of DACA recipients are California residents, his spokeswoman Bethany Lesser said.

Under Trump’s plan, people already enrolled in DACA remain covered until their permits expire. If that happens before March 5, they are eligible to renew them for another two years as long as they apply by October 5. But the program isn’t accepting new applications.

Opponents of the program said they are pleased with the Trump administration’s decision. They called DACA an unconstitutional abuse of executive power. It was brought under former President Barack Obama in 2014.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee and Attorney General Bob Ferguson, both Democrats, called Trump’s action cruel and outrageous, given that the decision was announced by Sessions rather than the president himself.

(With inputs from agencies)