Brian E. Frosh, Maryland Attorney General, recently announced that Maryland will join 19 other states and the District of Columbia, in suing the Trump Administration over their plan to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, (DACA). DACA is an executive order signed by former President Barack Obama in 2012.
“The callous and cavalier action taken by the Trump Administration will destroy the lives of many immigrants who were brought here as infants and toddlers, who love the United States of America, who pay taxes and abide by the law,” said Frosh in a statement.
The specific injuries and damages anticipated by the attorney general include possible abuse of sensitive information provided to Homeland Security in good faith, uncalculated possible injury to small businesses owned, operated or staffed by undocumented workers and insufficient notice to allow for public comment.
DACA, was designed to protect what Obama referred to as “strivers” in a Sept. 5 Facebook post. Along with the Iran nuclear deal and Affordable Care Act, DACA stood to be a legacy component of the Obama Administration. The order is now the third piece of policy, along with the aforementioned act and deal, to face mounting retrenchments from the new administration.
“Strivers,” in addition to other qualities, were defined as those that came into the United States before their 16th birthday, had a clean criminal record and had obtained a high school diploma, or GED, or had been honorably discharged from the US Armed Forces.
One of the benefits of DACA would have allowed otherwise undocumented immigrants to obtain legitimate state documentation in the form of driver’s licenses and work permits. In exchange, requestors provided biometric and historical data to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services.
This is the information considered by the litigants to be ripe for abuse. Homeland Security may now have a uniquely complete list with which to target these immigrants for incarceration and ultimately, deportation.
There are approximately 800,000 DACA recipients.
Rescinding DACA was a “day one” priority as Trump stated during his campaign. The president has said his order will take effect in six months if Congress does not take action. He later tweeted that if Congress was unable to take action “you have nothing to worry about.” He did not explain what that meant.
Trump’s campaign rhetoric cited illegal immigration as a chief source of crime in the United States. However, the growing weight of research and testimony from academics demonstrates that immigrants, legal and illegal, are conspicuously more law-abiding when compared to the native-born of the United States.
Baltimore Mayor Catherine E. Pugh and her new City Solicitor Andre Davis have also expressed support for DACA and its beneficiaries.
“We’re gonna protect the individuals here, in the state of Maryland and in our country,” the mayor said in a September 5 press conference.
Former mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake supported DACA and its extension the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA), as programs in support of “Baltimore’s own goal of a better, safer, and stronger future for all communities,” she said in a statement.
Frosh joins suit with a coalition of 19 other states and the District of Columbia.