DACA Recipients Sue Trump Admin to Block Repeal of Program

Immigration activists protest the Trump administration's decision to end DACA / Getty Images
Immigration activists protest the Trump administration's decision to end DACA / Getty Images
September 18, 2017

Six Californian recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals' protections sued the Trump administration on Monday to block the repeal of the controversial immigration program.

The suit, filed in U.S. District Court in San Francisco, alleges that President Donald Trump's decision to terminate the program "was motivated by unconstitutional bias against Mexicans and Latinos," the Los Angeles Times reports.

DACA protects certain illegal immigrants who came to the United States as minors. Implemented by the Obama administration through executive order, the program declines to prosecute or deport its roughly 800,000 recipients for their violation of federal immigration law, and issues them renewable two-year federal work permits.

Earlier this month, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the administration would rescind DACA over the next six months, and Trump has since then encouraged Congress to enact the program through legislation. He has indicated his commitment to making DACA law in meetings with congressional Democrats.

Trump's moves to enshrine DACA in law did not forestall the lawsuit, however. In their complaint, the plaintiffs argue that by revoking the promise of DACA—providing personal information to the federal government and undergoing background checks in exchange for semi-legal status—the Trump administration has committed a "bait-and-switch," violating their constitutional due process rights.

"The DACA program has meant not living in fear, and the opportunity to graduate from law school and build a business," Dulce Garcia, one of the plaintiffs, said in a statement. "And despite the administration's cruel choice to end DACA, we know that our American dream shouldn't have an expiration date."

Garcia, a San Diego attorney, is joined in the suit by two middle school teachers, a UC San Francisco medical student, a Ph.D. candidate in clinical psychology from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, and a law student at UC Irvine.

The suit adds to a plethora of legal challenges to Trump's rescission. Fifteen state governments, led by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman (D.), have brought suit against the administration, seeking a block on the end of DACA. So too has California Attorney General Xavier Becerra (D.), filing his own separate suit in California.