LA County joins legal fight to protect DACA

The Los Angeles County  Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday, Aug. 4, to challenge any federal government action to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas recommended that the county fight back against any move to eliminate DACA, which is currently under review by the Department of Homeland Security.

“Now, more than ever, we must be resolved to keep fighting on behalf of our immigrant communities, especially in the face of an administration that has continually attacked a community that is so vital to every facet of our country,” Ridley-Thomas said in a statement. “Those who have relied on DACA for their livelihood and peace of mind need our help.”

The Trump administration had sought to end DACA, an Obama-era program, but was ultimately blocked, at least temporarily, by the U.S. Supreme Court, which issued a 5-4 opinion in June.

DACA allows many non-U.S. citizens who came to the U.S. illegally as children to remain and work here without fear of deportation. An estimated 700,000 young people — often referred to as “Dreamers” based on the name of a related piece of legislation — rely on two-year, renewable permits issued under the program.

The high court’s opinion, written by Chief Justice John Roberts, did not consider the question of whether former President Barack Obama had the authority to legally enact DACA, and focused instead on the current administration’s lack of a reasoned explanation for shutting down the program, calling its justification “arbitrary and capricious.”

That ruling left the door open for ending DACA based on a new or more detailed rationale, and Trump vowed to refile paperwork to do so. However, late last month, the Department of Homeland Security released a memorandum stating it planned to review the program and would, in the meantime, reject new applications for permits and only grant renewals for one year.

“As the department continues looking at the policy and considers future action, the fact remains that Congress should act on this matter,” DHS Acting Secretary Chad Wolf said. “There are important policy reasons that may warrant the full rescission of the DACA policy.”

County officials said these young people make important contributions.

“As our friends, colleagues, and members of our families, Dreamers play a defining role in the L.A. County’s rich civic, cultural, and economic life,” Office of Immigrant Affairs Executive Director Rigoberto Reyes said. “Our office exists to help them and their families get access to available wraparound county services so they can continue investing their talent and effort to making our L.A. County the great home it is for us all.”

UCLA Labor Center Director Kent Wong said many “Dreamers” were front-line workers battling the coronavirus.

“DACA recipients continue to contribute immensely to our society, to our economy, and many are on the front lines of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Wong said. “The Trump administration’s attack on DACA is immoral, unprincipled and motivated by racial animus and political opportunism.”

The board’s vote was unanimously in favor of either joining a legal challenge to end the program or filing a “friend of the court” brief in support.

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