New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Attorney General Eric Schneiderman plan to sue the Trump administration over the rollback of an Obama-era immigration program that grants more than 40,000 New Yorkers protection from deportation.
“New York will sue to protect the ‘dreamers’ and the state’s sovereign interest in the fair and equal application of the law,” the Democratic governor said in a statement released Monday.
“Ending this policy represents an assault on the values that built this state and this nation. The president’s action would upend the lives of hundreds of thousands of young people who have only ever called America their home, including roughly 42,000 New Yorkers. It will rip families apart, sow havoc in our communities and force innocent people—our neighbors, our friends and our relatives—to live in fear,” Cuomo said.
The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, colloquially known as DACA, was put in place by then-President Barack Obama via executive action in 2012. It shields undocumented immigrants who arrived in the United States as children from deportation and grants them work permits. On Sunday night, Politico first reported that President Donald Trump plans to end the program, delaying the enforcement for six months and giving Congress the opportunity to enact a plan.
The Trump administration announced Tuesday that it plans to ends the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program through an “orderly, lawful wind down,” U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said during a press conference Tuesday morning. Trump punted to Congress to replace the program with legislation before the program begins phasing out on March 5, 2018. About 800,000 young immigrants are affected nationally.
“Congress, get ready to do your job- DACA!” Trump tweeted Tuesday morning.
Later in the day, former President Obama denounced the decision to rescind DACA as “cruel” and “self-defeating” and urged Congress to pass legislation that would replace the program.
During the campaign trail, Trump vowed to eliminate DACA the day he took office, but in February said his administration would “show great heart.” According to The Associated Press, citing U.S. Department of Homeland Security officials, immigrants with permits whose renewals are set to expire between now and March 5, 2018, would be able to re-apply, so long as their applications are submitted by Oct. 5, a month from Tuesday. No permits would be revoked before their existing expiration dates, and applications already in the pipeline will be processed, they said. But new applications would be halted.Pressure has been mounting on Trump after 10 state attorneys general wrote to Sessions threatening to sue the federal government if the White House didn’t phase out DACA by Sept. 5. Sessions, who has been vocal about his discontent for the program, told Trump that he would not defend DACA, which he said was implemented unconstitutionally, The New York Times reported.Schneiderman said the president’s decision to end the DACA program would be “cruel, gratuitous and devastating to tens of thousands of New Yorkers.”
“Dreamers are Americans in every way. They played by the rules. They pay their taxes. And they’ve earned the right to stay in the only home they have ever known. More than 40,000 New Yorkers are protected under DACA. They pay more than $140 million in state and local taxes. They are vital members of our community,” Schneiderman said in a statement.
Washington state also said it plans to sue the Trump administration over the dismantling of DACA.
“If President Trump follows through on his reported decision to cancel DACA after a six-month delay, the Washington Attorney General’s Office will file suit to halt this cruel and illegal policy and defend DACA recipients,” Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson said in a statement Monday.
It’s unclear what the legal basis for the lawsuit against the Trump administration is. Officials from Schneiderman’s office said they’d have more to say on the issue later. Spokespeople for Cuomo’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Neil Weinrib of Manhattan-based Neil A. Weinrib & Associates, which specializes in immigration law, told the New York Law Journal that his firm was in the process of analyzing the legal arguments in the state’s proposed suit against the Trump administration over DACA.New York could file a suit against the Trump administration on the grounds that ending DACA would harm the state’s economy, he said.
“Claims could include violations of the Administrative Procedures Act (APA), on the grounds that the change was ‘arbitrary and capricious’ and a violation of the U.S. Constitution’s guarantee of due process. Of course, it is difficult to assess the strength of these potential federal lawsuits since they will likely be appealed if successful and ultimately end up with the U.S. Supreme Court as the final arbiter,” Weinrib told the New York Law Journal in an email.
One of the potential arguments that could form is that the termination of DACA violates the Due Process Clause of the 14th amendment,” he said.
“It is noteworthy that President Trump’s legal argument that he does not have the authority to enforce DACA is in fact a paradox because he has argued in the travel ban cases that he DOES possess unreviewable discretion over U.S. immigration policy!” Weinrib said via email.
Weinrib said his firm has seen an influx of immigration inquiries since Trump took office (NYLJ, Nov. 16, 2016). Among one of the emails he’s received was on behalf of someone’s daughter, who is eligible for DACA but hasn’t applied yet; What should she do?
“The answer is, let’s wait and see where it goes,” Weinrib said.