Hawaii has joined a coalition of 15 states and Washington, D.C. in filing suit to protect Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) grantees.
The lawsuit, which was filed Wednesday in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, claims President Donald Trump and his administration violated the equal protection clause of the Constitution by discriminating against the 800,000 DACA recipients across the country, violated due process rights, and harmed states’ residents, institutions, and economies.
“Hawaii is going to court – again,” said Gov. David Ige. “Six hundred Dreamers currently go to Hawaii’s schools, work in our businesses, and deserve certainty and stability.”
“These are people who gave over their biometric data. They gave over biographical information believing that the U.S. government was going to take care of them, and now the U.S. government is saying, we might actually go after you now, and that really puts these people in a great place of uncertainty,” said Attorney General Doug Chin.
“With cruel indifference the president has taken an action that immediately robs hundreds of Hawaii residents of certainty in their future. Many of these people, who have done nothing wrong, have only known Hawaii as their home,” Chin added. “I have joined this lawsuit not only because it is the right thing to do, but because the way the president has proceeded is illegal.”
The action comes a day after the U.S. Department of Justice rescinded the DACA program.
Following the announcement, Trump urged Congress to come up with a legislative solution to provide immigration protections — a sentiment he reiterated to reporters Wednesday.
“I’d like to see something where we have good border security and we have a good DACA transaction where everybody is happy and now they don’t have to worry about it anymore,” Trump said. “Because obviously, as you know before, it was not a legal deal. It was a deal that wouldn’t have held up and didn’t hold up, and even President Obama, when he did it, when he signed it, he said this is obviously not something — he called it short-term. I’d like to see a permanent deal, and I think it’s going to happen. I think we’re going to have great support from both sides of Congress, and I really believe that Congress is going to work very hard on the DACA agreement and come up with something.”
Hawaii is home to nearly 600 DACA grantees. Hawaii DACA recipients have had their protection renewed by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security more than 1,700 times. According to the Center for American Progress, 97 percent of DACA grantees are employed or go to school.
In Hawaii alone, it is estimated that ending DACA would cost more than $28 million in annual GDP losses. Over the next 10 years Hawaii stands to lose more than $126 million in tax revenues if DACA is rescinded, officials said.
The complaint Hawaii joined was led by the attorneys general of New York, Massachusetts, and Washington, and joined by the attorneys general of Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Illinois, Iowa, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Virginia.