Iowa’s attorney general has joined with 15 other attorneys general to sue the federal government over Tuesday’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
Established by executive order under President Barack Obama, the program offered a level of protection to certain immigrants brought to the United States illegally as children. The protections allowed those immigrants to receive work authorization and live in the country legally.
On Tuesday, the Trump administration announced it would end DACA within six months.
About 2,800 Iowa residents have been approved for the program, with another 3,100 having submitted applications as of March, according to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services data.
In a statement Tuesday, Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller said DACA has protected those residents “who arrived illegally as children, grew up following the rules and are very much a part of our fabric.”
Miller told The Gazette he doesn’t know how long it will take the court to rule on the case, but said “courts can move pretty quickly in preliminary decisions” as they did in the case of President Donald Trump’s ban on travelers from predominantly Muslim countries.
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“It doesn’t need to move quite as quickly as the travel ban when people were being held at the airports, but clearly there is some urgency here,” Miller said. “There’s just great fear and concern about the people it affects.”
He claimed in the lawsuit the state stands to lose $258 million in tax revenues over 10 years if DACA recipients in the state lose their authorization to work.
Iowa Republicans largely praised the Trump administration’s decision. For instance, U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, said DACA is an example of Obama’s “executive overreach” and Trump’s move means it’s up to “Congress to sort it out.”
“President Trump should continue to work with Congress to pass reforms through the legislative process that encourage lawful immigration,” Grassley said in a statement.
Other attorneys general involved in the suit include those from New York, Massachusetts, Washington, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and Virginia.
In the lawsuit, the attorneys general ask a federal judge to declare the rescission of DACA contrary to the Constitution and unlawful.
They also ask a judge to prevent the federal government from using information obtained through DACA applications to “identify, apprehend, detain, or deport” any of those applicants or their family members.
Gazette reporter James Q. Lynch contributed to this report.