SACRAMENTO – California Attorney General Xavier Becerra today, in response to the Trump Administration’s opening legal brief, led a coalition of attorneys general in defending the hundreds of thousands of Dreamers protected under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy. In a court filing submitted to the U.S. Supreme Court, the attorneys general assert that the Trump Administration’s sudden decision to end DACA is unlawful and subject to judicial review.
“The Trump Administration continues to hide behind the flimsy excuse that their hands were tied and they had to end DACA,” said Attorney General Becerra. “The truth is there is no basis for that conclusion. Dreamers who have called America home for decades contribute significantly to our communities as teachers, first responders, entrepreneurs, and so much more. Many of them know no other home than the United States. With our partners around the country, we’re standing up for the rule of law and the promise of the American dream.”
In the legal brief filed in Department of Homeland Security, et al. v. Regents of the University of California, et al., the attorneys general highlight the contributions of Dreamers to their communities and refute the Trump Administration’s incorrect assertions. For instance, despite claiming to express sympathy for Dreamers, the Trump Administration maintains that it was forced to terminate the policy because it was unlawful. This claim runs contrary to the fact that DACA is consistent with dozens of similar policies that have been adopted by almost every administration since the passage of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952. For example, the Reagan and George H.W. Bush Administrations adopted and expanded the “Family Fairness” policy, which would have enabled more than a million individuals belonging to “mixed-status” households to remain in the United States.
The Trump Administration has also held that its decision to terminate DACA was not subject to judicial review. However, as the brief by the state attorneys general explains, the Trump Administration’s actions are not outside the purview of the courts. In fact, the attorneys general note that three federal district courts and two federal courts of appeals each correctly held that the federal government violated the law when it rescinded DACA. Moreover, in making the determination to end DACA, the Trump Administration failed to provide any comparative assessment of the human and economic costs of terminating or maintaining the policy.
Since 2012, more than 800,000 young immigrants who were brought to this country as children have been granted DACA protections after completing applications, submitting to and passing a background check, and applying for a work permit. Dreamers come from almost every country in the world, but many have never known any home other than the United States. Dreamers are among our newest college graduates, soldiers, nurses, teachers, and first responders who are boosting the economies and communities of our country every day. DACA recipients and their households are estimated to contribute nearly $9 billion in federal, state, and local taxes each year. At stake beyond the substantial lost tax revenue are the billions of dollars in turnover costs that American businesses would face as employers lose qualified workers whom they have trained and in whom they have invested. DACA has also made our communities safer by enabling these young people to report crimes to law enforcement without fear of deportation. Currently, there are nearly 700,000 active DACA recipients with almost 200,000 residing in California alone.
Attorney General Becerra has been a stalwart defender of DACA and has worked at every step to protect the rights of Dreamers living in the United States. In June, with DACA oral arguments set to be heard before the U.S. Supreme Court in November, Attorney General Becerra vowed to continue to defend DACA against the Trump Administration. In July, the Attorney General announced that nearly half a million Dreamers have been able to renew their DACA protections as a result of a preliminary injunction obtained by California and others. Last year, Attorney General Becerra led a multistate coalition to protect Dreamers from unlawful termination of their individual protections. In 2017, following the Trump Administration’s decision to illegally rescind DACA, Attorney General Becerra led a multistate lawsuit in defense of the policy.
In filing the brief, Attorney General Becerra is joined by the attorneys general of Maine, Maryland, and Minnesota.