A group of six California residents filed a federal lawsuit today (September 18) that challenges the Trump administration’s plan to eliminate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
Reuters reports that six adult plaintiffs, all of whom came to the United States as children of undocumented parents, filed a suit to stop DACA’s repeal in U.S. District Court for the Northern Division of California just after midnight today. The complaint describes Trump’s decision to end DACA as “a broken promise and an unprecedented violation of the constitutional rights of plaintiffs and other young people who relied on the federal government” to maintain the program.
That promise was made in 2012, when the Obama administration introduced the program. The complaint argues that it struck a bargain that allowed undocumented immigrant children to trust the government while building lives in the U.S.:
In creating DACA, the government offered plaintiffs and other DREAMers a straightforward deal—if they stepped forward, shared sensitive personal information and passed a background check, they would be granted renewable protection and would be allowed to live and work in the United States provided that they played by the rules. DACA also provided access to important benefits and enabled recipients to open bank accounts, obtain credit cards, start businesses, purchase homes and cars, and conduct other aspects of daily life that were otherwise often unavailable to them.
Dulce Garcia, a San Diego-based lawyer who came to the U.S. at age four, is one of the six plaintiffs. She told Reuters that she works with clients who, like her and nearly 800,000 other DREAMers, are susceptible to deportation under DACA’s repeal.
“The DACA program has meant not living in fear, and the opportunity to graduate from law school and build a business,” she told the Los Angeles Times. “And despite the administration’s cruel choice to end DACA, we know that our American dream shouldn’t have an expiration date.”
Garcia and her fellow plaintiffs’ lawsuit specifically accuses the government of being “motivated by unconstitutional bias against Mexicans and Latinos” to justify violating the Fifth Amendment, which protects people from self-incrimination (including, per the complaint, telling the federal government about your undocumented status in good faith) and the Administrative Procedure Act, which governs how federal agencies can propose and rescind policies.
These allegations feature in other lawsuits filed in the wake of the DACA repeal announcement. As The Hill reported, attorney generals from 15 states and the District of Colombia co-filed one such lawsuit on September 6. The Times reported four days later that California, Maine, Maryland and Minnesota attorney generals submitted their own lawsuit, filed in the same federal court as a suit filed by the University of California.