15 states, DC sue Trump administration over ending DACA

Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller. Photo courtesy WHO-TV.

NEW YORK (AP) — Fifteen states and the District of Columbia sued Wednesday to block President Donald Trump’s plan to end a program protecting young immigrants from deportation — an act Washington state’s attorney general called “a dark time for our country.”

The lawsuit was filed in the Eastern District of New York. The plaintiffs were New York, Massachusetts, Washington, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and Virginia.

In a statement issued Wednesday, Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller alleged Trump’s decision violates the Constitution and will adversely affect Iowa’s economy and Iowa families.

“DACA has protected hundreds of thousands of young people, including nearly 2,800 here in Iowa, who arrived illegally as children, grew up following the rules, and are very much a part of our fabric,” Miller said. “Our lawsuit alleges the Trump administration’s action to dismantle DACA violates peoples’ due process, denies them equal protection under our constitution, and causes ‘immediate harm’ to those whom DACA is intended to protect.”

On Tuesday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said a program, known as the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals or DACA, will end in six months to give Congress time to find a legislative solution for the immigrants.

The participants were brought to the U.S. illegally as children or came with families who overstayed visas.

Those already enrolled in DACA remain covered until their permits expire. If their permits expire before March, 5, 2018, they are eligible to renew them for another two years as long as they apply by Oct. 5. But the program isn’t accepting new applications.

Opponents of the program said they are pleased with the Trump administration’s decision. They called DACA an unconstitutional abuse of executive power but proponents of the program said the move by Trump was cruel.

Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson said the action violates the due process rights of the immigrants. He said he fears the information the immigrants provided the government to participate in DACA could be used against them.

“It’s outrageous, it’s not right,” an emotional Ferguson said at a news conference in Seattle. “As attorney general for the state of Washington, I have a hammer, it’s the law.”

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee joined Ferguson at the news conference and said “this is one more of a long train of abuses that this president has attempted to foist on this great nation.”

Earlier this year, Ferguson sued Trump over his travel ban, which resulted in a federal judge blocking nationwide enforcement.