California Takes the Feds to Court Over DACA


The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program is under attack by the administration but California officials aim to uphold the program in their state. California's Attorney General Xavier Becerra filed a lawsuit that challenges ending DACA in California for economic reasons. As of Wednesday, 15 other states have also filed lawsuits to protect DACA within their borders.

Along with Texas and New York, the state of California has more Dreamers than most others. Of the 800,000 Dreamers, 200,000 reside in the state. Becerra praises Dreamers for helping California become the world's sixth largest economy. He told reporters that the current administration has put Dreamers livelihoods at risk, and with it California's economic success.

The Sacramento Bee reports that Becerra told reporters that the suit will go forward on the the grounds that it is unconstitutional and violates federal law. DACA recipients pay fees and apply for the program. Rescinding the program arguably violates the recipient's rights.

As the legal battle pushes forward, DACA recipients are concerned about their status. Eloy Ortiz Oakley, the Chancellor of California Community Colleges addressed Dreamers in a public statement, telling them that they are welcome in the community college school system and that the system will push Congress to support them.

Local legislators are putting their hopes on State Senate Bill 573 which would allow DACA recipients to continue their studies in California and would provide financial options for students that would include volunteer hours in exchange for grants or other forms of financial aid. This bill addresses the most pressing concern for DACA recipients, their ability to work and earn an income.

Law professor Gabriel J. Chin acknowledges that deportations are not the main threat to Dreamers at this point, but the termination of the program will result in the rejection of work authorization requests. State-level worker permits are not granted at the state level, but on the congressional level. There are limits to state power and state attorney generals will have to prepare tight cases.

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions stands by the argument that the DACA program was the result of executive power over-reach and he will likely not step back from this position easily.