UC Sues Trump Administration Over DACA Repeal

L.A. councilman introduces motion directing city attorney to do the same.

By City News Service

The University of California on Friday filed a federal lawsuit against the Trump administration for allegedly violating the constitutional rights of the college system and its students, including those at its Los Angeles and Irvine campuses, by rescinding the DACA program on “nothing more than unreasoned executive whim,” and a city of Los Angeles councilman introduced a motion directing the city attorney to either file his own lawsuit or join one planned by the state of California which was announced Wednesday by Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra.

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program protects immigrants who were brought to the country illegally when they were children to safely live, work and study without fear of deportation.

The UC’s lawsuit filed in San Francisco against the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and its acting secretary, Elaine Duke, is the first to be filed by a university seeking to stop the Trump administration’s decision to end the DACA program, which currently protects over 800,000 undocumented young people. The lawsuit alleges the Trump administration failed to provide proper notice to the impacted population as required by law.

”As a result of the defendants’ actions, the Dreamers face expulsion from the only country that they call home, based on nothing more than unreasoned executive whim,” the complaint reads. UC President Janet Napolitano, who was secretary of DHS from 2009 to 2013, spearheaded the Obama administration’s creation of the DACA program in 2012, setting in place a rigorous application and security review process, according to the lawsuit.

UC President Janet Napolitano, who was secretary of DHS from 2009 to 2013, spearheaded the Obama administration’s creation of the DACA program in 2012. (New America Media)

UC President Janet Napolitano, who was secretary of DHS from 2009 to 2013, spearheaded the Obama administration’s creation of the DACA program in 2012. (New America Media)

Applicants for DACA were only approved if they were in or had graduated from high school or college, or were in the military, or an honorably discharged veteran They cannot have been convicted of a felony or major misdemeanor or otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety. “Neither I, nor the University of California, take the step of suing the federal government lightly, especially not the very agency that I led,” Napolitano said in a statement released by the UC. “It is imperative, however, that we stand up for these vital members of the UC community. They represent the best of who we are — hard working, resilient and motivated high achievers. To arbitrarily and capriciously end the DACA program, which benefits our country as a whole, is not only unlawful, it is contrary to our national values and bad policy.”

The lawsuit asks the court to set aside the Trump administration’s rescission of DACA because it is “unconstitutional, unjust, and unlawful.”

The UC system, including UCLA and UC Irvine, has roughly 4,000 undocumented students, a substantial number of whom are part of DACA, as well as teachers, researchers and health care providers who are DACA recipients, according to UC.

Roughly 200,000 of the 800,000 DACA recipients in the country live in California, and it is believed that about 100,000 live in the Los Angeles area.

“These Dreamers’ were brought here as children and have proven themselves to be lawful residents contributing to the social fabric and diversity of the United States,” states the motion introduced by L.A. Councilman Jose Huizar that instructs City Attorney Mike Feuer to pursue legal action on behalf of the city.

When asked to comment on the motion, Feuer’s spokesman Rob Wilcox said, “Our office is already in discussions with other government entities on how best to maximize our impact on fighting the removal of DACA.”

Fifteen states filed a lawsuit Wednesday challenging the end of the DACA program, but Becerra said California was planning its own suit because it is disproportionately harmed by the action.

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September 9, 2017  Copyright © 2012 Eastern Group Publications, Inc.

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