California Attorney General Xavier Becerra on Monday formally challenged the Trump administration’s directive to rescind a program protecting unauthorized young immigrants from deportation.
Becerra, joining the states of Minnesota, Maryland and Maine, announced the lawsuit flanked by two “Dreamers,” young women who were brought to the United States illegally but were allowed to stay here, study and hold jobs after applying for the now-imperiled Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
“They should not be punished for things that were done by others,” Becerra said of the DACA recipients. “We don’t bait and switch in this country.”
Becerra said his lawsuit, which he previewed last week and planned to file Monday in the Northern District of California, was meant to “immediately address the president’s unlawful and mean-spirited actions” by alleging his administration violated the due process protections of DACA applicants by putting their personal information at risk.
“California stands with the millions of immigrants who make this state a vibrant and prosperous place,” Gov. Jerry Brown added in a prepared statement. “We are suing the Trump administration for canceling the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival program, and we are investing millions of dollars in new legal aid to help law-abiding people stay with their families in the U.S.”
About a dozen people gathered Monday at a park in Los Banos to rally support for Dreamers in Merced County.
A sign hanging from an overpass on Seventh Street and Pacheco Boulevard urged Los Banos resident to support the Dream Act saying: “American is our only home.”
Ruben Lopez, a member of the Los Banos chapter Black Bureau for Justice, said plans to end the program were “unfair.”
Many who were brought to the United States illegally when they were young children don’t even find out they’re not residents until they seek employment or enroll in college, Lopez said Monday.
“They were raised in the U.S and have dreams like everyone else to go to college and get jobs,” Lopez said.
Many could be deported to countries where they don’t understand the language or know the customs and it would be “hard for them to survive,” Lopez said.
Without DACA, Lopez said, some won’t be able to fulfill their dreams. Many people now live in fear.
The legal action by California, home to more than a quarter of the nation’s nearly 800,000 DACA participants, follows the University of California’s lawsuit Friday against the Trump administration challenging its efforts to eliminate the anti-deportation program on “nothing more than unreasoned executive whim.”
The university contends that the rescission should be set aside because it is procedurally invalid: a policy change affecting an entire class of people should have been subject to an administrative review process, including a public comment period for those affected to weigh in. Becerra said his lawsuit has similar “causes of action.”
There also is a separate lawsuit by 15 attorneys general, led by the state of New York, but Becerra said it was important for California to act independently given the impact on its economy and the large numbers of immigrant youths here. He added: “I don’t think there’s any doubt that California has the most to lose if (Dreamers) don’t win.”