WASHINGTON, D.C – A coalition of civil rights and social justice organizations led by the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law recently filed an amicus brief in support of two consolidated lawsuits, including a lawsuit brought by attorneys general from 16 states plus the District of Columbia in the Eastern District of New York challenging President Trump’s move to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
The DACA program, established in 2012, has allowed more than 800,000 young immigrants who came to the United States as children obtain temporary legal status, allowing them to study, work and live their lives free of fear of deportation. These young people, widely known as “Dreamers,” have made significant cultural and economic contributions to the country, including in institutions of higher education, places of employment, and the military. Yet despite these meaningful contributions, the Trump administration’s actions to rescind the DACA program has forced thousands of young immigrants into a state of uncertainty.
In their amicus brief filed last week in in two related cases, State of New York et al. v. Donald Trump and Batalla Vidal, et al. v. Baran, et al., nine civil rights organizations led by the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law state that ending the DACA program harms not just the thousands of Dreamers whose lives hang in the balance, but the country’s economy as well. The brief cites to economic data revealing that ending the DACA program would result in a loss of $460.3 billion from the national gross domestic product over the next decade, as well as a loss of $39.3 billion in Social Security and Medicare over the same period. The economic harm would be most acute, the brief states, in local immigrant communities where DACA recipients have purchased homes and launched small businesses.
“Reversing DACA renders undocumented people targets for unscrupulous employers, wage theft and other abuses in the workplace, and weakens the economic well-being of their families, including their citizen spouses, siblings and children. It is also a cruel example of the current Administration’s advancement of policies that promote racial and ethnic profiling and xenophobia,” said Dariely Rodriguez, Director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law’s Economic Justice Project. “The amicus brief we filed supporting DACA goes to the very heart of our mission to, as President Kennedy said in 1963, ‘promote and protect the rights of all who wish to be free.’”
In addition to the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, the brief is joined by: Advocates for Youth, Anti-Defamation League, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Economic Justice, Mississippi Center for Justice, National Urban League, Public Counsel, Southern Poverty Law Center, and Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs. The brief was filed with pro bono counsel Venable LLP. A link to the brief can be found here.