OAKLAND – California Attorney General Rob Bonta today co-led a coalition of 22 attorneys general in filing an amicus brief opposing the ongoing, misguided effort led by Texas to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Texas and its co-plaintiffs are challenging the lawfulness of the DACA Final Rule that was adopted by the Department of Homeland Security. They allege that the Rule is an unlawful exercise of the Executive Branch authority and violation of the Administrative Procedure Act. The coalition’s amicus brief supports the parties defending the Rule, including the United States and a group of DACA recipients and the State of New Jersey as intervenors.
“Our great nation was built by immigrants. Dreamers, DACA recipients, immigrants are welcome in our state,” said Attorney General Bonta. “Neighborhoods, businesses, economies, and schools across California and the nation rely on DACA, and I am committed to fighting for them. Any attempt to end this crucial program is negligent and irresponsible.”
DACA has allowed recipients to live, study, and work across the United States free from the fear of being forcibly separated from their families and communities. DACA recipients are also integral members of institutions of higher learning. Thousands are enrolled in the States’ public universities and colleges as of November 2020, and 1,700 DACA recipients are enrolled in the University of California system alone. Their unique experiences help further the States’ important interest in fostering diverse and inclusive educational environments. Because of DACA, public universities and colleges are able to employ grantees in a variety of roles, including as professors, teachers, teaching assistants, administrators, research assistants, and postdoctoral researchers. DACA recipients have made significant contributions to the research expertise and exchange of ideas that are central to these institutions’ academic missions.
DACA plays a vital role in supporting our economies at the national, state, and local level. As of 2020, California employed nearly 300 DACA recipients across its state agencies and departments because of their specialized skills and qualifications. These workers are vital to furthering the State’s priorities in public safety, public health, infrastructure, and veterans affairs. As of July 2020, California employed at least 288 DACA recipients across 26 agencies and departments, including the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, Department of Health Care Services, Department of Transportation, Department of Water Resources, and Department of Veterans Affairs.
In the amicus brief, the coalition reiterates that:
California remains committed to fighting for the rights of its immigrant communities and has long been at the forefront of the effort to defend DACA. In 2023, Attorney General Bonta fought for the rights of migrants seeking asylum and immigrant children. In 2022, he released a new report on immigration detention facilities in California. In 2021, Attorney General Bonta led a multistate coalition in an amicus brief pushing back on Texas’ earlier efforts to end DACA. He also led a multistate effort in support of the federal government’s work to preserve and fortify DACA through regulatory action. In 2018, California secured the first injunction against the Trump Administration’s efforts to rescind DACA, and successfully defended the program before the U.S. Supreme Court in 2020. In California, Attorney General Bonta successfully secured a unanimous California Supreme Court decision earlier this year to help protect immigrant defendants against prejudicial error in the criminal legal system. In 2022, the Attorney General successfully blocked an Arizona-led effort to revive litigation over the Trump-era public charge rule. He also led a multistate amicus brief pushing back on attempts by a for-profit prison operator to evade minimum wage laws for people who worked for the company while in civil immigration confinement.
In filing the amicus brief, Attorney General Bonta is joined by the attorneys general of New York, Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin, and the District of Columbia.
A copy of the amicus brief is available here.