Iowa Attorney General Joins Multistate Lawsuit To Preserve DACA

Sep 6, 2017

Iowa’s attorney general is joining 15 other states that are suing President Trump, in an attempt to preserve an Obama-era policy that protects nearly 800,000 undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children from being deported.

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program was created under an executive order. It allows undocumented immigrants without criminal records to live and work in the US for a two-year renewable period. 

DACA recipient Monica Reyes (front center) and others rally in support of immigration reform. (01/24/2015)
Credit John Pemble/IPR File

The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court of the Eastern District of New York, claims ending DACA is unconstitutional under the equal protections clause. It notes that more than 78 percent of DACA recipients are from Mexico, and  states that ending DACA "is a culmination of President’s Trump’s oft-stated commitments—whether personally held, stated to appease some portion of his constituency, or some combination thereof—to punish and disparage people with Mexican roots."

"He clearly has some strong, adverse, angry views about Hispanics and Mexicans in particular," says Attorney General Tom Miller. "That’s the way he started his campaign."

Since the election, the president has appeared to back off on his opposition to DACA, before changing course and announcing yesterday that he'll begin phasing out the program in March. Trump says it's on Congress to find a legislative solution before that time.  

Child holds sign at the "Day without Immigrants" march in Des Moines. (02/17/2017)
Credit Sarah Boden/IPR File

As of March of this year, US Citizenship and Immigration Services has approved more than 5,500 DACA applications and renewals from Iowa residents. Miller says one of the reasons he joined the suit is because DACA recipients contribute substantially to Iowa’s economy and tax base.

"I think we’re estimating about $258 million in tax revenues over 10 years, and a GDP loss of $924.5 million, almost $1 billion," he explains. "This has a real effect on Iowa."

All the attorneys general suing Trump are Democrats. The other states included are Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and the District of Columbia. 

By ending DACA, Trump avoided a lawsuit that was threatened by a coalition of 10 Republican attorneys general who oppose the program.

Gov. Kim Reynolds is traveling to Israel on a trade mission, but she said during her weekly news conference yesterday that she agrees with the president's decision to end DACA and also that it's time Congress addressed immigration reform. 

"We've been talking about this for a longtime, it's time we get something done," Reynolds told reporters. "They need to do their job."

When Sen. Chuck Grassley was asked yesterday if Congress passing a legislative solution to DACA in six month was possible, he responded that was difficult to say, "considering we haven't done much the first eight months."