New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced today that he is joining forces with attorneys general in 14 other states and the District of Columbia to sue the Trump administration over its decision to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, following through on a promise made earlier in the week.
"It’s clear that President Trump’s DACA repeal would cause huge economic harm to New York - and that it’s driven by President Trump’s personal anti-Mexican bias," Schneiderman said in a statement announcing the suit. "Attorneys General have not hesitated to act to protect those we serve, and I’m committed to continuing to use every tool to protect New Yorkers."
Schneiderman announced the lawsuit with a press conference at John Jay College this afternoon. In the suit, each attorney general lays out the way they argue the DACA reversal will negatively affect their states (Massachusetts, Washington, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and the District of Columbia). The lawsuit also points to what the AGs say are a multitude of discriminatory statements and actions by President Trump and members of his administration.
Those statements form the backbone of what the lawsuit claims is the legal action available to the attorneys general. First, the suit argues that the Department of Homeland Security memo laying out the end of DACA, combined with prejudiced statements the president has made against Mexicans, "target individuals for discriminatory treatment based on their national origin, without lawful, justification," which is a violation of the due process clause of the Fifth Amendment.
DACA grantees are the American Dream.
97 percent are employed or go to school.
They pay $140 million in state and local taxes in NY.
— Eric Schneiderman (@AGSchneiderman) September 6, 2017
The suit also argues a second Fifth Amendment violation, contending that the Trump administration allowing ICE to use personal information that DACA recipients gave to the government in order to track and arrest them is "fundamentally unfair," another due process violation.
The way the Trump administration ended the program is also a violation of the Administrative Procedure Act, according to the state AGs, because orders from the Department of Homeland Security to end the program were "arbitrary and capricious." The suit also claims an APA violation because the rollback didn't hold a notice-and-comment making period, something the federal government is required to provide when a substantial rule change to federal policy is proposed. Some legal experts have suggested this is the clearest path for the state AGs to win a victory in court.
Finally, the attorneys general claim that the Trump administration violated the Regulatory Flexibility Act, which requires the government to publish analyses of proposed rules from federal agencies looking at the impact on small business, small governments and small nonprofits. In this instance, the DACA rollback is arguably one of these rules, and no such study of its impact was done.