Microsoft and Princeton University teamed up to file a lawsuit Friday in federal court challenging the Trump administration’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
The company and university, along with a current DACA recipient and Princeton student named Maria De La Cruz Perales Sanchez, are represented by Jenner & Block partner Tom Perrelli, who served as associate attorney general during President Barack Obama’s first term. While the business community has largely come out in support of other lawsuits challenging the decision, Microsoft appears to be the first corporation to bring its own challenge against the Sept. 5 announcement. The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.
“The termination of the DACA program severely harms Perales Sanchez and other Dreamers, as well as the employers and educational institutions that rely on and benefit from their contributions,” the complaint said.
In the complaint, Microsoft said it has a “significant interest” in retaining the DACA recipients it employs, because of the high cost of recruiting talented employees and the disruptive nature of “unanticipated” employee turnover. Princeton likewise said it has an interest in maintaining the DACA program because it has already invested resources in students that receive DACA benefits on the assumption they would be allowed to continue studying and working in the country.
“Because fostering a diversity of perspectives is crucial to Princeton’s mission of teaching and research and to Microsoft’s core business functions, these two institutions have invested in many initiatives to make their campus and workplaces more welcoming to people of all backgrounds. DACA recipients are no exception,” according to the complaint.
The lawsuit asks the court to issue an injunction barring the government from enforcing the rescission. It alleges violations of the Administrative Procedure Act, as well as the Fifth Amendment’s equal protection and due process clauses.
In an email, Justice Department spokesman Devin O’Malley said the government is eager to defend its decision.
“As the attorney general has said: ‘No greater good can be done for the overall health and well-being of our Republic, than preserving and strengthening the impartial rule of law,’” O’Malley said. “While the plaintiffs in today’s lawsuit may believe that an arbitrary circumvention of Congress is lawful, the Department of Justice looks forward to defending this administration’s position.”
On Wednesday, Microsoft joined more than 100 other companies, including Uber Technologies Inc., Twitter Inc., Google and Facebook Inc., in filing an amicus brief in the University of California’s challenge to the decision in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.
In filing the lawsuit Friday, Microsoft followed through on its September promise to protect its employees affected by the decision. In a blog post that month, Brad Smith, Microsoft president and chief legal officer, wrote that if Congress did not act to protect the DACA program, “our company will exercise its legal rights properly to help protect our employees.”