Attorney General Becerra Leads Multistate Amicus Brief to Protect DACA Recipients Against Unlawful Termination

Friday, December 21, 2018
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SACRAMENTO — California Attorney General Xavier Becerra today led a multistate coalition in filing an amicus brief opposing the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) unlawful practice of automatically terminating Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) status for some recipients without due process and against its own written policies. DHS has been engaging in the unlawful practice of terminating DACA grants and work authorizations based solely on the issuance of a Notice to Appear charging recipients with unlawful presence. DHS has failed to provide these DACA recipients with notice or an opportunity to contest the termination, as required under the DACA program’s written procedures. Attorney General Becerra filed the brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and was joined by a coalition of 17 attorneys general.  

“Dreamers play by the rules. So too should their government. As vital members of California’s communities, Dreamers should be able to trust that they will be protected under the law,” said Attorney General Becerra. “These illegal actions not only harm Dreamers and their families, but our economy, public health, schools, and social services. DHS should follow its own procedures and fulfill its legal duty to Dreamers.”

In the brief, the States argue that DHS’s policy harms DACA recipients, their families, and communities. DACA recipients have been part of their communities since childhood and have strong family and business ties. According to a 2018 survey of DACA recipients, over 70 percent of respondents have a spouse, child, parent, or sibling who is a U.S. citizen. Revoking DACA status harms DACA recipients by stripping them of legal authorization to work, forcing them back into the shadows and hampering their ability to provide for their families – including U.S.-citizen children.

States also suffer significant harm from the improper termination of DACA grants. DACA and its accompanying work authorization has enabled recipients to enroll in colleges and universities, earn degrees, become medical professionals and teachers, serve in the U.S. military, open businesses, start families, and purchase homes. DACA recipients make substantial contributions to both the state and U.S. economy and contribute over $1.2 billion a year in state and local taxes.

Finally, the States argue that DHS’s failure to follow its own written procedures for the DACA program causes uncertainty, fear, and confusion in DACA recipients and undermines the public’s trust in the government. Hundreds of thousands of residents in the Amici States applied for DACA trusting that the federal government would follow its own rules and comply with the law.

In filing the brief, Attorney General Becerra was joined by the Attorneys General of: Connecticut, Delaware, Hawai’i, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and the District of Columbia.

A copy of the brief can be found here.

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