States threaten to sue over DACA, as Trump tweets he'll 'revisit' policy if Congress doesn't act
As President Donald Trump vows to “revisit the issue” of granting legal status to “dreamer” immigrants if Congress doesn’t codify DACA in the next six months, multiple Democratic-led states are threatening lawsuits.
On Tuesday, US Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the decision to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program on Tuesday. Trump then tweeted that Congress has six months to legalize DACA, otherwise he will “revisit this issue!”
Congress now has 6 months to legalize DACA (something the Obama Administration was unable to do). If they can't, I will revisit this issue!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 6, 2017
Congress will have six months to pass a law that would regulate the status of people brought into the US illegally as children. Under the program, some 800,000 of them were granted temporary protection from deportation by President Barack Obama’s executive action in 2012.
Hours after the announcement was made Tuesday, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman released a video on his Twitter page, telling DACA recipients that he will be filing suit against the Trump administration “to protect you and the values we all share as New Yorkers.”
On Monday, Schneiderman stated that there are more than 40,000 DACA recipients living in New York, who pay more than $140 million in state and local taxes. He added that those individuals have “earned the right to stay in the only home they have ever known.”
In a speech at Riverbank State Park on Tuesday, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) said that the Trump administration's decision to end DACA was “feeding the beast of bigotry red meat.”
Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson told protesters Tuesday that he also plans to sue the Trump administration over the decision to end the program.
“As Attorney General, I will use all the legal tools at my disposal to defend the thousands of Dreamers in Washington state,” Ferguson said in a statement Monday.
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra also promised legal action against the Trump administration on Tuesday, arguing that the decision to end DACA is unconstitutional and that young immigrants following the rules would be denied due process rights.
“President Trump has turned his back on hundreds of thousands of children and young Americans who came forward and put their trust in our government. But in terminating DACA, the Trump Administration has also violated the Constitution and federal law,” Becerra said in a statement, adding that roughly one-quarter of DACA recipients live in California.
California Governor Jerry Brown stood behind Becerra, calling the Trump administration’s decision to end the program “senseless and cruel.”
“California has its eyes on Congress to do what it should have done years ago, but we cannot bank on that,” Nancy McFadden, Brown’s top aide, said in a statement.
Senators Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) and Dick Durbin (D-Illinois), both ranking members of the Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration, held a press conference on Tuesday, where they re-introduced the DREAM Act to protect DACA recipients from deportation.
Durbin, who introduced the DREAM Act 16 years ago, said that he hopes this is a moment when lawmakers “are forced to finally do something.”
“We want to call this bill for a vote on the floor of the House and the floor of the Senate. I am hoping that we will have enough votes to pass it,” Durbin said, according to the New York Times.
The DREAM Act, which stands for Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors, would allow young immigrants to earn lawful permanent residence and eventually American citizenship if they are longtime residents who came to the US as children, graduate from high school, pursue higher education, work lawfully for at least three years or serve in the military. The immigrants would also be required to pass security and law enforcement background checks, pay an application fee, demonstrate proficiency in the English language and a knowledge of US history, and not commit any felonies or serious crimes or pose any serious threat to the US.
In addition, Senator Cory Gardner (R-Colorado), chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, announced that he would co-sponsor another bill called the DREAM Act with Senator Michael Bennet (D-Colorado).
“Children who came to this country without documentation, through no fault of their own, must have the opportunity to remain here lawfully,” Gardner said. “I’m proud to join with Senator Bennet and cosponsor the Dream Act to provide certainty to the thousands of law-abiding Coloradan Dreamers and demonstrate bipartisan leadership on this important issue. I have long called for an overhaul of our country’s immigration system and believe this is an important step.”