Chicago — Attorney General Lisa Madigan today joined with 15 attorneys general to file a lawsuit to protect Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals ( DACA ) grantees. Madigan and the coalition allege the federal government's rescinding of the DACA program violates Due Process rights; violates the Equal Protection clause of the Constitution by discriminating against DREAMers of Mexican origin, who make up 78 percent of DACA recipients; and harms the states' residents, institutions, and economies.
The lawsuit was filed earlier today in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York against President Trump, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Click here to read the lawsuit.
Since DACA's inception five years ago, nearly 800,000 young immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children have been granted DACA status after paying application fees, submitting to and passing background checks and applying for work permits.
Illinois has the third highest number of approved initial DACA applications, trailing only California and Texas. Since 2012, over 42,000 Illinoisans have been accepted to participate in the DACA program. Studies show that Illinois' economy would suffer an approximate $2.3 billion loss with the elimination of the DACA program, including nearly $55 million in local and state tax revenue. In addition, one expert estimates that rescinding the program will cost Illinois $6.9 billion over the next decade.
"To deport DREAMers to countries foreign to them is fundamentally unfair, hurts our state economy and violates the law," Madigan said. "These are Americans in every way but their birthright. For centuries, our country has benefitted from immigrants who came here and worked hard for a better life. Rescinding DACA is contrary to what makes our country prosper."
The lawsuit further states,
"Since 2012, DACA has allowed hundreds of thousands of young people to live, study, and work in the United States, and to become stable and even more productive members of their communities, without fear that they could be arrested and placed in deportation proceedings at any moment. Throughout the country, DACA grantees are employed by various companies and State and municipal agencies, which benefit from their skills and productivity. DACA grantees also contribute significantly to State and local revenues and tax bases. Yet, as a result of the DHS Memorandum, approximately 1,400 DACA grantees will lose their work authorization and risk termination of employment each day as their terms begin to expire. DACA recipients will lose their eligibility for public and employer-based health insurance programs that reduce the States' health expenditures and promote public health. They also will lose their right to enroll in higher education institutions with in-state admissions preferences and tuition; thus, public universities will be deprived of a means by which they enrich the experience of all students and faculty through diversity and new perspectives.
"…More than 78 percent of DACA grantees are of Mexican origin, which is more than double the percentage of people of Mexican origin that comprise the overall foreign-born population ( 29 percent ) of the United States. Ending DACA, whose participants are mostly of Mexican origin, is a culmination of President's Trump's oft-stated commitmentswhether personally held, stated to appease some portion of his constituency, or some combination thereofto punish and disparage people with Mexican roots.
"The consequence of the President's animus-driven decision is that approximately 800,000 persons who have availed themselves of the program will ultimately lose its protections, and will be exposed to removal when their authorizations expire and they cannot seek renewal. The individuals who have relied on DACA are now more vulnerable to removal than before the program was initiated, as they turned over sensitive information to the federal government in their applications. Despite the federal government's repeated promises that it would not use such information to conduct enforcement measures, the Memorandum does not explain how the government will keep that information secure, nor does it provide any assurances that immigration enforcement agents will not use such information to find and remove those who applied for DACA.
"Rescinding DACA will cause harm to hundreds of thousands of the States' residents, injure State-run colleges and universities, upset the States' workplaces, damage the States' economies, hurt State-based companies, and disrupt the States' statutory and regulatory interests."
Joining Madigan in filing the lawsuit are the attorneys general from: Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and Washington.