Democratic attorneys general from 15 states (plus D.C.) are suing President Trump over his decision to end President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy. The lawsuit, which was filed in the Eastern District of New York on Wednesday, argues that racism was Trump’s primary motive for the rollback: “… Ending DACA, whose participants are mostly of Mexican origin, is a culmination of 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.” The lawsuit also argues that the Trump administration isn’t following proper procedure in shutting down DACA and that eliminating the program would hurt the attorneys’ states by impeding beneficiaries’ ability to contribute to the economy, among other things.
The attorneys hope that Trump’s past offensive statements about Mexican immigrants will work against him in court, not unlike what happened with his anti-Muslim travel ban. However, as D.C. Attorney General Ken Racine acknowledged to the Washington Post, it’s “a tough case.” That’s in part because Obama used executive power to establish DACA, so it might be difficult to argue that Trump can’t use the same power to kill it. Still, Racine added, “We think there are enough references to his comments — both before he was president and while he was president — that illustrate a bias against Mexicans.”
Earlier this week Tuesday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions claimed that DACA was unconstitutional and that it would not survive threatened legal challenges, which, as Cristian Farias has pointed out, isn’t really true. Responding to the lawsuit on Wednesday, a spokesperson said that the Justice Department “looks forward to defending this Administration’s position.”