September 6, 2017

NM’s AG, others sue Trump administration over ending DACA

Courtesy photo

New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas.

New Mexico’s top law enforcement officer joined 15 other attorneys general in suing the federal government to stop the Trump administration from deporting people whose parents  brought them to the country illegally as children.

New Mexico Attorney General was among those who opposed President Donald Trump’s plans to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, created by a Barack Obama executive order, in six months. Those who remain in the country under the status can stay until their waives expire and the renewals typically last two years. After six months, the administration would no longer accept new renewals and those whose status expired would be subject to removal from the country.

The lawsuit says the Trump decision, announced by U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions earlier this week, discriminates against DACA recipients and harms states and  their economies.

Recipients are often referred to as “Dreamers,” based on the never-passed DREAM Act that would have provided similar protections.

“I filed suit against President Trump and his administration to protect DACA because Dreamers are just as American as First Lady Melania Trump,” Balderas said. “President Trump cannot continue compromising the safety of our communities and our nation, or putting the security of thousands of New Mexicans who contribute to our classrooms, public safety and economy at risk.”

The attorneys general, let by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, filed the lawsuit in federal district court.

Nearly 7,000 DACA recipients live in New Mexico, and there are 800,000 Dreamers nationwide.

Sessions said the administration made the decision because of another lawsuit by conservative attorneys general challenging the legality of the program. Sessions said he would not be able to defend the program in court.

Protests have been taking place nationwide, opposing Trump’s move and in support of Dreamers. Democrats also slammed Trump, while Republicans said it showed the need for congressional action. Previous efforts to pass laws to address DACA recipients have failed in Congress, largely because of Republican opposition.

Now, with large majorities supporting DACA, congressional Republicans have a time limit on finding a legislative plan despite a number of hurdles.