SALEM — Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum and 15 other attorneys general have filed a federal lawsuit in New York challenging Trump’s decision to rescind a program that allows undocumented adults brought to the United States as children to legally work and attend school in this country.
U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced Tuesday, Sept. 5, that the Trump administration would phase out Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) in the next six months, to give Congress time to enact the program legislatively.
The administration asserts that the program, created through executive order by then-President Barack Obama, is unconstitutional because it circumvents powers granted to Congress.
The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court Eastern District of New York, asserts that Trump administration has violated the Equal Protection clause of the Constitution by discriminating against so-called “DREAMers” of Mexican origin, who make up 78 percent of DACA recipients. The attornyes general argue Trump’s action also violates due process rights and harms states’ residents, institutions and economies.
“The president is playing chicken by giving Congress six months to either create a ‘better’ DACA program, or cancel it,” said Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum. “The DACA program was originally created because of congressional inaction, and we have little faith Congress will step up and ‘fix’ it this time.”
More than 11,000 DACA recipients live in Oregon and 800,000 in the entire country. Many “have lived nearly their entire lives in our state,” Rosenblum said.
“These outstanding young people pay taxes, go to our community colleges and universities, start businesses and contribute in more ways than we can count,” she said. “To suggest that these Oregonians who have grown up here should be taken from their families and deported to a foreign country where they have no family, friends and may not even speak the language is cruel and indefensible.”
Entering the DACA program requires passing a background check and other screening.
DACA recipients work in Oregon, pay taxes, are eligible for employer-based health insurance and contribute to economic well-being of the state, supporters say.
Deporting DACA recipients would cost Americans an estimated $60 billion just in federal tax revenue and nearly a half a trillion dollars in economic growth in the next 10 years, according to a report CNN Money.
The complaint filed Wednesday also claims that ending DACA would undermine Oregon colleges and universities ability to meet their educational missions and prepare Oregonians for the workforce.
Other attorneys general who have joined the lawsuit are from Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Washington, Virginia, Vermont, and the District of Columbia.