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DACA Rally in Philadelphia, September 5th 2017. Photo taken by Samantha Laub/AL DÍA News. 
DACA Rally in Philadelphia, September 5th 2017. Photo taken by Samantha Laub/AL DÍA News. 

Attorney General Josh Shapiro joins forces to Legally Fight for DACA

Sixteen attorney generals reviewed the facts, and determined that Trump’s DACA directive violates the rule of law. Of the sixteen, the attorney general for The…

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Earlier in the day on September 6th 2017, the State Attorney Generals from New York, Massachusetts, Washington, Connecticut, Delaware, The District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Virginia filed a fifty-eight page lawsuit challenging President Trump’s decision to end Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).

You may have missed that monumental news update because you were too busy worrying about your relatives in Barbuda, The Virgin Islands, St. Marteen, The Dominican Republic, Haiti, Puerto Rico, Cuba, or Florida, which were receiving- or were scheduled to receive -the full brunt of Hurricane Irma’s mighty winds. Now that it’s Monday, however, and Irma has meekly shrunken herself to a Tropical Storm, it is time to turn our heads to another hurricane: the historical repeal of a federal immigration policy that has aided over 800,000 young people in our nation.

Of that mammoth figure, about 5,889 DACA recipients are Pennsylvanians. They, like thousands of others across the country since its inception in 2012, paid a $495 fee, passed background checks, gave their fingerprints and home addresses, all while obeying our laws, going to our schools, working for our country, paying our taxes, and not receiving federal benefits in return. In Pennsylvania, 87% of DACA recipients are employed, generating over $20 million in state and local taxes, and $357,080,795 of economic activity annually. For these DREAMers, the most important benefit from DACA was not monetary, rather it was merely being given the opportunity to stay in a country that most had considered their one and only home for the majority of their lives.

In State Attorney Josh Shapiro’s official press release, he stated that our immigration laws are a “disgrace” and that our government’s inability to tackle the issue effectively and ethically for the past fifteen years is “shameful”. On behalf of AL DĺA News and the audience that we cater to, I asked Mr. Shapiro to offer a more robust explanation of what he meant:

“Immigration laws are a disgrace- too many people are in limbo, too many people are in the shadows. Congress and The President through multiple administrations- Democrat and Republican -over the last two decades have failed to pass comprehensive immigration reforms that can provide certainty and security.”

The lengthy lawsuit takes great precautions in outlining every reason why these sixteen State Attorney Generals felt they had to take legal action in response to The Trump Administration’s decision to “violate the rule of law”. Other than conveying the economic repercussions that will surely come if DACA grantees lose their protective status, the case file’s introduction reserves a portion of its argument to file suit for “President Trump’s oft-stated commitments-- whether personally held, stated to appease some portion of his constituency, or some combination thereof --to punish and disparage people with Mexican roots.” Like the lawsuit contends, more than 78% of DREAMers are of Mexican origin.

In the Plaintiff State of Pennsylvania’s section of the case, Article 166 recalls that “Pennsylvania was founded by William Penn, an early Quaker and advocate of democracy, immigration, and religious freedom and places great value on tolerance, diversity, multiculturalism and an openness to others of different races, religions, and nationalities.” This fidelity to William Penn’s fundamental ideals is emphasized by State Attorney Josh Shapiro’s signing of the lawsuit, as well as by the Pennsylvania’s Human Relations Act and by Philadelphia being a sanctuary city.

“At the core of our legal argument… These DACA recipients, relied on a promise made by the federal government. That, in exchange for sharing this personal information, it would not be used against them to deport them- unless of course they violated the law -and so we believe that gives us a due process claim and, it’s clearly illegal. I am taking The President to court to protect the DREAMers and hopefully, through this action, and a subsequent judge’s ruling, we will be able to provide some comfort to the DREAMers that the federal government won’t use this information to deport them,” Mr. Shapiro continued.

The defendants of the lawsuit include Donald Trump, The Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and the Acting Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, Elaine C. Duke.

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