Attorney General Bob Ferguson announced Wednesday that Washington state was filing a lawsuit to stop President Donald Trump’s order to end a program that allows undocumented people who came to the United States as children to remain in the country.
The decision, relayed by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, would allow the program to continue for six months. Recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) work permits whose permits expire between Sept. 5 and March 5, 2018, may reapply before Oct. 5 for another two years.
People with permits that expire after Oct. 5 will lose their limited status within the United States.
The lawsuit challenges the decision, saying that it was “arbitrary and capricious” and that racism was a motivating factor.
“If the overwhelming majority of Dreamers were Caucasian, does anybody really think this president would take the action he took yesterday?” Ferguson said.
This argument is similar to those Ferguson deployed against the travel ban that targeted Muslim majority countries. Lower courts ruled against the administration, but a Supreme Court decision allowed the ban on entry into the United States from six majority-Muslim countries to move forward while the court determines its constitutionality.
Ferguson nodded to the similarities and also noted that his office has filed many lawsuits against the Trump administration and is so far undefeated.
Eleven states and the District of Columbia joined in the lawsuit, although other states could sign on in the future.
Since announcing the end of DACA, the Trump administration has tried to throw responsibility for the program to Congress.
In a tweet, Trump challenged legislators to present legislation that would formalize the program. One of daca’s greatest weaknesses was that it was created by executive order during the Obama administration, and was therefore limited in its scope.
DACA was not a path to citizenship. Instead, it allowed people who were brought to the country as children to receive work permits and Social Security numbers. That number allowed daca recipients to participate more fully in American life: They could earn a living, go to college and apply for financial aid or a mortgage.
It was a less robust version of the DREAM Act, a piece of legislation that has in one form or another been in front of Congress for almost 16 years. Sens. Dick Durbin (D-Illinois) and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) presented the first version of the DREAM Act in 2001. Durbin and Sen. Linsdey Graham (R-South Carolina) reintroduced the DREAM Act on July 20.
Obama did not have the authority to make the program permanent or create a path to citizenship. The DREAM Act would do both.
“I’m excited about taking this burden off your back. I embrace you, I want you to succeed,” Graham said on July 20.
Ashley Archibald is a Staff Reporter covering local government, policy and equity. Have a story idea? She can be can reached at ashleya (at) realchangenews (dot) org. Twitter @AshleyA_RC
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