“Checkmate” by John Vetterli

September 7, 2017; CityLab and Seattle Times

Last week, we wrote about Trump’s rescinding of DACA, what it means for DREAMers, and what’s next. By the end of the week, we were hearing from DREAMers themselves and watching the ever-growing number of lawsuits against President Trump continue to grow as states joined together to fight the end of DACA, and major corporations promised to fight for their DACA staff.

CityLab’s Steve Holt helped capture the sentiment of DREAMers in his interview with Carlos Rojas Alvarez, a Massachusetts-based advocate for undocumented youth. One message that came through loud and clear is that DACA recipients are not abandoning their parents in exchange for U.S. citizenship. Rojas Alvarez said,

One thing that we as a movement are very concerned about is the way that many of our allies, who may be very well-intentioned, have tried to come to our defense by throwing our parents under the bus. We’re starting to hear rhetoric like, “They came here through no fault of their own” or “they were brought here as children, they didn’t know any better,” or “punishing the child for the sins of the father.” We DREAMers would not be here without our parents. We would not have been able to do what we’ve been able to pull off politically and legislatively.

In fact, the strong support networks that immigrants have are key to their survival in the U.S. DREAMers see them as an asset, not a liability. Rojas Alvarez identified the current moment as one in which to push forward; the movement knows that DREAMers are seen as “worthy and deserving” and that most U.S. residents support legal status for them. He said, “In our immigrant community, DREAMers are the most adapted, the most connected, the most looked-up-to—and that means we have a huge responsibility to defend not only each other, but all other undocumented immigrants.”

For Rojas Alvarez, the key work for the movement right now is “healing and learning how to build deep relationships across differences” in order to withstand the attacks it is facing.

According to the Seattle Times’ Nina Shapiro, last Wednesday, Washington Attorney general Bob Ferguson announced that “15 states and the District of Columbia are suing the Trump administration over its decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.”

Leading the lawsuit are Washington, New York, and Massachusetts. The lawsuit claims that

  • Trump violated due process and equal-protection guarantees (the government made promises not to use personal information submitted by DACA applicants against them), as well as federal procedures for dismantling a complex federal program.
  • Trump’s action shows animus toward Mexican people (per the Muslim ban), “calling Mexicans, for example, criminals and ‘bad hombres’” (nearly 80 percent of the 800,000 DREAMers are of Mexican decent).
  • Ending DACA would cause “immediate harm to states’ businesses, colleges and universities, and economies.”

The other states involved in the lawsuit are Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Virginia. Washington, D.C. also joined the suit. California, with a quarter of the nation’s DREAMers, is filing its own lawsuit.

The chief executives of Amazon, Apple, AT&T, Best Buy, Evite, Gap, General Motors, Lyft, Microsoft, Netflix, Starbucks, and Uber are among the many who have signed on to an FWD.us petition in support of two immigration bills focused on DREAMers, The Dream Act and The Recognizing America’s Children (RAC) Act.

The New York Times’ Michael D. Shear reported that Janet Napolitano, who created DACA and is now the president of the University of California system, also filed a lawsuit “accusing Trump officials of violating administrative procedures and constitutional due process requirements by abruptly ending the program.”

Finally, the Economist ran an article headlined “Donald Trump is right: Congress should pass DACA,” urging Congress to pass a DACA-like bill.

Qingqing Miao, an immigration attorney who heads the Washington chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, said much depends on what the Trump administration does next. “If it starts deporting Dreamers, that will add to the due-process argument, she said.

Referencing Napolitano’s lawsuit (and reflecting recent NPQ articles by Carole Levine on the importance of the courts in the country’s response to the Trump administration and vice versa), Stephen H. Legomsky, a professor at the Washington University School of Law and a former general counsel at the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, said, “So much is going to turn on which judge they land.”—Cyndi Suarez