Fifteen states and the District of Columbia have filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration in the effort to stop it from implementing its decision to end the Obama-era program that temporarily protects “DREAMers” — young undocumented immigrants brought into the United States as kids and are now being “punished” for the “sins” of their parents.
To qualify and be approved for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, these young people must prove they are not a threat to the safety and security of the United States. They must come out and register with the government, pass multiple background checks and pay fees and taxes. More than 97 percent of the 800,000 “DREAMers” who qualify for the program are in school, in the workforce, or are serving in the Armed Forces.
The program is set to be rescinded in six months, unless Congress comes up with a bill that can protect them from being deported back to their countries of birth even if most of them have no connection there, have not known the language nor culture of where their families came from, and have known and called America their “home” all their lives.
Amid the outrage from many Americans all over the country who have been protesting and rallying in support of the almost 800,000 “DREAMers,” the states of California, New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and Virginia, plus the District of Columbia contend in their lawsuit that the Trump administration violated the due process rights of the young immigrants by failing to safeguard the personal information they initially gave the government in order to enroll in DACA.
As the National Public Radio (NPR) reported, the states’ lawsuit also alleges that the “racial animus or racial bias/hatred” is behind Trump’s decision to end DACA.
“Trump violated the Constitution’s equal protection clause by targeting a cohort that is nearly 80 percent Mexican natives,” the report said.
The lawsuit filed by the states cited Trump’s statements demeaning Mexicans as “’criminals, thugs and bad hombres,’” Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson said Trump, has revealed ”a racial animus” toward Mexicans.
“Ask yourself one question: If the overwhelming majority were Caucasians, does anybody really think he (President Trump) would have taken the action he took?” Ferguson told NPR.
In the meantime, many businesses across the country have also voiced their support for the “DREAMers” and their opposition to Trump’s decision to rescind DACA. Companies like Microsoft and Apple say they have no plans to fire the beneficiaries and will even offer them legal protection.
Before Trump announced his decision to rescind DACA through Attorney General Jeff Sessions, more than 400 of the CEOs of the country’s big businesses signed a letter to the president and congressional leaders to save DACA, saying that these “DREAMers” are vital to the economy.
As the New York Times reported, the letter from the executives stated that “65 percent of Dreamers have bought a car and 16 percent have purchased their own home. This economic activity, they argue, would be eliminated if the DREAMers were deported.”
The NYT report further said that Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics, “estimates that five years after a repeal of DACA, the nation’s gross domestic product would be $105 billion less than it would be if the program stays in place.”
“The Dreamers are on track to be a highly educated group, and losing them will be a significant blow to businesses already struggling to find educated and skilled young workers,” the report quoted Zandi.
According to the analysis of New American Economy, a national business coalition founded by former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg to advocate for immigration reform, rescinding DACA “jeopardizes the livelihoods of tens of thousands of cooks, waiters, cashiers, salespeople and construction workers.”
Using the U.S. Census for the analysis provided to the Washington Post, “the impact will also be felt across tech, health care and education — where many of the DACA-eligible immigrants who are college educated work as software developers, nurses and teachers.”
The Post reported that “Of the DACA-eligible immigrants over 21 years old, 12 percent have bachelor’s degrees, 3 percent have advanced degrees, 84 percent have completed high school and some college, and 2 percent did not graduate from high school.”
“People have a very specific image in their mind of who an undocumented immigrant is, but the reality is that ‘dreamers,’ who are American in every sense of the word except the legal one, are working in every industry in every community,” said Jeremy Robbins, executive director of New American Economy.
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Gel Santos Relos is the anchor of TFC’s “Balitang America.” Views and opinions expressed by the author in this column are solely those of the author and not of Asian Journal and ABS-CBN-TFC. For comments, go to www.TheFil-AmPerspective.com, https://www.facebook.com/Gel.Santos.Relos