Lawyers hoping to rescue a Obama-era program that prevents the deportation of thousands of people brought to the U.S. as children told a federal appeals court on Wednesday that ending the program would kill the lives of thousands who grew up have to become tax-paying, productive managers will disrupt. of the U.S. economy.
A Texas state attorney general, who led an effort to end the deferred action program for child arrival, argued that DACA recipients had cost the state hundreds of millions in health care and other costs.
The controversial views at the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans were exchanged when more than 100 DACA supporters held signs, beat drums and sang outside the courthouse. They called for the preservation of the program that protects more than 600,000 people from deportation, and a path to citizenship for immigrants.
“I am undocumented, and I will speak today,” said Woojung “Diana” Park, 22, of New York. She said she was brought to the US from South Korea as a 1-year-old. DACA, she said, “is the minimum the U.S. government has offered to immigrant communities after decades of fighting for basic human rights.”
A federal judge in Texas declared DACA illegal last year – though he agreed to leave the program intact for those who already benefited from it while his order was appealed.
The U.S. Department of Justice has defended the program, attached to the state of New Jersey; advocacy organizations such as the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund; and a coalition of dozens of powerful corporations – including Amazon, Apple, Google and Microsoft – claiming that DACA recipients are “employees, consumers and job creators”.
Texas, along with eight other Republican states, argues that DACA was put in place without going through proper legal and administrative procedures, including public notice and comment periods. In addition, the states allege that they are financially disadvantaged by allowing immigrants to stay in the country illegally.
DACA proponents argued that the program falls within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s power to prioritize enforcement.
“DHS has limited resources,” said Brian Boynton of the Justice Department. “It is not capable of removing 11 million people in the country. It must decide who will target it first.”
In court and in court, DACA supporters argued that Texas had reduced its claims of financial injury by waiting six years to challenge the program. They also said the state is ignoring evidence that DACA recipients are reducing Texas’ costs because many of them work with health insurance benefits, own homes and pay property taxes that schools support.
In addition, they argued that Texas did not show that DACA recipients would leave the state if the program was discontinued. That point was met with skepticism by Judge James Ho, who noted that in a survey included in New Jersey’s legal arguments, more than 20% of DACA recipients said they would likely leave if the program was abolished.
Boynton argued that the respondents’ answers were merely speculative and supporters of the program, in short, questioned the methodology of the survey. But Ho again questioned whether the answers should be rejected.
“It’s a question about, literally, your whole life,” Ho told Boynton. “It’s a pretty profound question to do wrong.”
Judd Stone, who is protesting for the state of Texas, said the state has shown that it spends millions of dollars on DACA recipients and that the end of the program will lead to some of those who receive that money leaving the state.
“There is no evidence to show that any of those numbers are zero,” Stone said.
DACA supporters argued in court orders and in news conferences in New Orleans and South Carolina on Wednesday that the termination of DACA would have devastating consequences for immigrants who knew the United States as their only home.
“I’m a 10 year old dad, so getting DACA recalled would put me in a limbo of not knowing if I’m going to take my son to his next football game,” Yahel Flores, a DACA recipient and Carolina’s state director of the American Business Immigration Coalition, told reporters during a Zoom call.
In a court order, DACA supporters said program beneficiaries “are parents of more than a quarter of a million U.S. citizens, and 70% of DACA recipients have an immediate family member who is a U.S. citizen.”
DACA has faced numerous court challenges since then-President Barack Obama created it in 2012 on an executive order. Former President Donald Trump has moved to end the program. But a U.S. Supreme Court ruling ruled that he did not do it properly, revived it and allowed new applications. This was followed by the Texas-led lawsuit.
Chief Justice Priscilla Richman, an appointment of President George W. Bush, was instructed to hear arguments at the 5th Circle; and two Trump officials, Ho and Judge Kurt Engelhardt.