A coalition of 16 states and the District of Columbia sued the Trump administration Wednesday to block the repeal of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), an Obama-era policy that protects children from deportation.
The plaintiffs argue in the suit the policy violates the Administrative Procedure Act, which governs the implementation of policies and regulations, and the due process clause of the Fifth Amendment.
“These DREAMers play by the rules,” said New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman in a statement, applying a term often used to describe DACA recipients. “They work hard and pay taxes. America is the only home they have ever known — and they deserve to stay here and keep contributing to our state and our nation.”
The plaintiffs include New York, Massachusetts, Washington, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and Virginia, along with the District of Columbia.
The AGs argued that the president’s order is motivated by anti-immigrant animus. They write:
“Ending DACA, whose participants are mostly of Mexican origin, is a culmination of President’s Trump’s oft-stated commitments—whether personally held, stated to appease some portion of his constituency, or some combination thereof—to punish and disparage people with Mexican roots. 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 will be exposed to removal when their authorizations expire and they cannot seek renewal.”
As in the travel ban litigation, the plaintiffs claim a series of statements made by the president during the campaign and after the inauguration evince the true purpose of his policy — discrimination against immigrants. As this line of argument prompted several federal courts to enjoin the president’s executive order on refugees and migrants, the plaintiffs likely hope the same strategy will buoy them to success.
The U.S. Supreme Court ultimately reinstated Trump’s order, albeit with several qualifications.
The suit was filed in the Eastern District of New York.
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