Janet Napolitano, the former U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security under President Barack Obama, said in a lawsuit filed on Friday that ended the 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival program, or DACA, violates the due process of about 800,000 beneficiaries, known as "dreamers", who were granted permits that protected them from deportation.
"They've grown up here, they've gotten their educations here, many of them don't even speak the language of the country to which they would be deported if this decision were allowed to stand", Napolitano said on a call with reporters.
"On a personal basis, yes I have a keen interest in DACA", Napolitano said. But my primary interests lies in the interest of the young people's future.
The lawsuit also argues Trump did not follow the proper procedures needed to cancel a program of this magnitude. Approximately 4,000 students in the system are undocumented, many of whom are DACA recipients according to the UC Newsroom.
The DACA program has provided work authorization and deportation relief for almost 800,000 young undocumented immigrants since it was implemented through an executive order by then-President Barack Obama in 2012.
Napolitano said she's also calling on Congress to come up with a legislative solution to DACA, which President Trump has also asked for.
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.
"To arbitrarily and capriciously end the DACA program, which benefits our country as a whole, is not only unlawful, it is contrary to our national values and bad policy", Napolitano said in a statement.
A coalition of 15 states and the District of Columbia, led by NY, filed a second lawsuit on Wednesday aimed at keeping DACA alive. The attorneys general claim that the decision was grounded in racial animus based on statements Trump made about Mexicans during the 2016 campaign for the White House. However, 15 states and D.C. filed lawsuits nearly immediately after Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced Tuesday that the administration believes DACA is "unconstitutional".
DACA was not initiated by a presidential order. But similar legal challenges largely blocked Trump's efforts to restrict virtually all visits from several Muslim-majority countries earlier this year.
During a stop in Grand Rapids she said she is fighting to save it.
Whether or not the lawsuits are ultimately successful, they open the possibility that one or more federal judges could issue an injunction that would halt the termination of DACA while the cases wind their way through the legal system. President Donald Trump announced his decision to end the program Tuesday, saying that the program would expire in six months and placing the onus on Congress to decide the fate of young undocumented immigrants.
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