Legal groups have filed a federal lawsuit against the Trump administration on behalf of millions of Americans who are eligible to get protected status under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
The suit seeks a court order barring the administration from withholding federal funds from states that refuse to renew DACA, which grants a work permit and protection from deportation to undocumented immigrants who were brought to the US as children.
The lawsuit, filed in the US District Court for the Northern District of California, argues that the Trump Administration has “continued its discriminatory actions to deny and punish those who sought to obtain DACA”.
“In particular, the Trump Administrations refusal to provide the Department of Homeland Security with the DACA information requested by the legal community, as required by law, is discriminatory,” the group wrote in a statement.
“This is a grave miscarriage of justice and will not stand.”
The lawsuit comes on the heels of a report by the New York Times that the federal government is using a program known as “deferred action for parents” to try to force states to renew some DACA recipients.
The program grants conditional permission for parents to work and receive up to three years of DACA benefits.
The legal groups said the Trump government’s actions were “deeply contrary to our principles of fairness and equality”.
“States must be given the opportunity to decide whether to renew the Deficit Reduction Act and to protect the vulnerable young people whose lives are at stake,” the groups wrote.
A spokesperson for Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who is responsible for immigration policy, said: “As we’ve made clear, the President has always been clear that the DACA program has been used to reward individuals who came here as children and not criminals, as is the case with the millions of DACA recipients who are protected by DACA.”
We continue to enforce the law and work with Congress to address the DACA Deficit.
As we did with DACA, the Attorney General will continue to defend our nation’s immigration laws.
“The group also pointed to the Obama administration’s “Operation Defiant”, which targeted undocumented immigrants in the country illegally and issued arrest warrants.”
It’s clear that we have a system in place that rewards people who are in the system,” said attorney Jonathan Zaid, the executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).”
That system should not be used to take the law into your own hands.
“In a statement to Al Jazeera, the White House said: “[We] continue to stand for the rights of all Americans, and we will continue working with Congress, state and local law enforcement, the private sector, and the private attorneys who will defend them.
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