Citing the effect on thousands of African and Caribbean natives, the NAACP, the country’s oldest civil rights organization, has filed a lawsuit against President Donald Trump, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Homeland Secretary Elaine Duke, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Department of Homeland Security, in defense of people of color eligible for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).
There are approximately 800,000 DACA recipients across the country, and more that would have been eligible for the program had it not been unnecessarily and unconstitutionally cancelled, the organization said in a news release.
The vast majority of DACA registrants and those eligible for DACA are people of color and more than 80 percent of registrants are of Mexican origin, according to the Migration Policy Institute.
Further, approximately 36,000 immigrants of African origin were also immediately eligible for the DACA program with additional reporting revealing that more than 20,000 youth from Caribbean nations of the Dominican Republic and Jamaica are eligible for DACA.
“By establishing DACA, the United States made a promise to protect its most vulnerable residents – young, undocumented immigrants, who are overwhelmingly people of color,” said Derrick Johnson, interim president and CEO of the NAACP. “In exchange for providing the government with extensive information about themselves and their families, these young immigrants received this country’s assurance that they could build lives for themselves in the United States without fear of prosecution or deportation.”
Now, Trump has reneged on that promise, he said.
“By rescinding DACA, President Trump puts hundreds of thousands of lives and livelihoods at risk,” Johnson said. “Immigrants and DACA registrants have been positive members of society; they contribute to community; they open businesses; they pay taxes and they are generally law-abiding.
“But, instead of celebrating their contributions, President Trump is kicking DACA registrants and eligible people out of the country and upending their lives,” he said. “This is not the American way.”
The suit seeks to stop the Trump administration from reneging on the government’s promise to share the American dream with immigrant children who have become productive, valued members of our community, said Joseph M. Sellers, a partner at Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll, PLLC, which is representing the NAACP in the lawsuit.
“Ending the DACA program is neither right nor lawful,” Sellers said. “Given the unstable political climate, our clients and the other Dreamers need to know now that their education and livelihood can continue here, free from the looming threat of deportation.”
The NAACP alleges that Trump and the other named defendants unlawfully reneged on their promise to protect young, undocumented immigrants of color living in the United States.
The NAACP also charges that the Trump administration violated the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment, the Equal Protection Clause of the Fifth Amendment, the Administrative Procedure Act and the Regulatory Flexibility Act.
“The NAACP, whose membership includes DACA registrants across the United States, is filing this lawsuit to protect the hundreds of thousands of Mexican, Caribbean and African immigrants who have been affected by the unlawful termination of the DACA program,” said Janette M. Louard, the organization’s deputy general counsel. “Our goal is to prevent the Trump administration from implementing the full implications of rescinding the DACA program.”