Hawaii, 14 other states and the District of Columbia are suing to block President Donald Trump’s decision to end a program protecting young immigrants from deportation, a plan that Hawaii Attorney General Doug Chin said “robs hundreds of Hawaii residents of certainty in their future.”
The lawsuit was filed in the Eastern District of New York Wednesday. In addition to Hawaii and the District of Columbia, the plaintiffs were New York, Massachusetts, Washington, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Iowa, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and Virginia.
Chin said the state was joining the coalition filing suit to protect grantees of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program because it is “the right thing to do.”
The attorneys general who brought the lawsuit — all Democrats — represent states where the population of DACA participants, known as “Dreamers,” ranges from hundreds to tens of thousands. They were brought to the U.S. illegally as children or came with families who overstayed visas.
“With cruel indifference, the president has taken an action that immediately robs hundreds of Hawaii residents of certainty in their future,” Chin said in a news release.
“Many of these people, who have done nothing wrong, have only known Hawaii as their home. I am grateful to Gov. (David) Ige for his leadership and clear-eyed dedication to supporting the dreamers and protecting DACA. Following his lead, I have joined this lawsuit not only because it is the right thing to do, but because the way the president has proceeded is illegal.”
Hawaii is home to 558 DACA grantees.
Devin M. O’Malley, a Justice Department spokesman, said the agency looks forward to defending the administration’s position.
On Tuesday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said the DACA program will end in six months to give Congress time to find a legislative solution for the immigrants.
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, while 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.