Attorney General Becerra Sends Letter to Trump: We Stand Ready to Defend DACA

Friday, July 21, 2017
Contact: (415) 703-5837, agpressoffice@doj.ca.gov

20 Attorneys General: Mr. President, It’s Time to Affirm Your Commitment to the “Incredible Kids” to Handle this Issue “With Heart”

SACRAMENTO – California Attorney General Xavier Becerra today led 20 attorneys general in sending a letter to President Trump urging him to maintain and defend the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) initiative. In the letter, the attorneys general explain how DACA has benefited their states and the nation as a whole and call on Trump to fulfill his public commitment to Dreamers.

“Donald Trump says we should treat DACA grantees ‘with heart’ – and I agree. The President should defend this vital initiative that benefits families, communities and economies in California and across the country,” said Attorney General Becerra. “Instead of frightening kids, we should empower them to fulfill their potential. After all, our young people are this nation’s most precious natural resource. Anything that harms them harms all of us. That’s why I will do everything in my power as Attorney General to defend DACA.”

Since DACA’s inception five years ago, nearly 800,000 young immigrants who were brought to this country as children have been granted DACA status after paying application fees, submitting to and passing background checks and applying for work permits. Ending DACA would have an outsized effect on California, where more than 200,000 young people – more than a quarter of all DACA grantees nationwide – are working, paying taxes, contributing to California’s economy and making their communities a better place to live. 

“Mr. President, now is the time to affirm the commitment you made, both to the ‘incredible kids’ who benefit from DACA and to their families and our communities, to handle this issue ‘with heart.’ You said Dreamers should ‘rest easy.’ We urge you to affirm America’s values and tradition as a nation of immigrants and make clear that you will not only continue DACA, but that you will defend it,” wrote the attorneys general. “The cost of not doing so would be too high for America, the economy, and for these young people. For these reasons, we urge you to maintain and defend DACA, and we stand in support of the effort to defend DACA by all appropriate means.”  

The letter refutes arguments set forth by those opposing DACA and threatening litigation, saying they are “wrong as a matter of law and policy,” and urges the President not to “capitulate” to their demands.

“DACA is consistent with a long pattern of presidential exercises of prosecutorial discretion,” wrote the attorneys general. “DACA sensibly guides immigration officials’ exercise of their enforcement discretion and reserves limited resources to address individuals who threaten our communities, not those who contribute greatly to them. Challenges have been brought against the original DACA program, including in the Fifth Circuit, but none have succeeded.” 

Joining Attorney General Becerra in sending the letter are attorneys general from: Connecticut, Delaware, Hawai’i, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia, Vermont, Washington and Washington, D.C.

A copy of the letter is attached to the electronic version of this release at oag.ca.gov/news.

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