Sunday - Nov 19, 2017

Mayors, local officials ask Trump to defend DACA


Editor’s Note: San Francisco is part of a coalition that signed onto a letter to President Trump, asking him to defend the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program from a potential court challenge led by Texas.

by Rafael Bernal,
The Hill

WASHINGTON – Over 100 mayors and county officials from 35 states issued a letter today to President Trump calling on him to continue the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program until a legislative solution is enacted for all undocumented immigrant youth, otherwise referred to as Dreamers. Our cities have embraced the DACA program, and DACA has in turn provided thousands of our residents with the opportunity to pursue higher education, career goals, and give back to the country they call home. Cities and counties have supported DACA applicants and recipients through investments in legal services, outreach efforts to eligible youth, and easing access to school records and public documents for prospective applicants. These contributions have helped nearly 800,000 individuals obtain DACA and give back to their communities:

• DACA recipients serve our localities in all kinds of critical roles—including medical professionals, teachers, and even municipal employees.  

• 1.3 million young undocumented immigrants enrolled or immediately eligible for DACA contribute an estimated $2 billion a year in state and local taxes.

• This includes personal income, property, and sales and excise taxes. DACA-eligible individuals pay on average 8.9 percent of their income in state and local taxes.

The mayors who have signed on to today’s letter to the President are part of Cities for Action, a coalition of over 150 cities and counties, representing over 55 million residents, leading on immigration action through federal advocacy and local programs.

A group of mayors and county officials from around the country wrote to President Trump Tuesday, asking him to defend the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program from a potential court challenge led by Texas.

Under DACA, nearly 800,000 undocumented immigrants brought to the country as children received work permits and deferral from deportation.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) is leading a group of 10 states that have threatened to challenge the program in court unless the Trump administration rescinds it by Sept. 5.

Cities for Action — a coalition of counties and cities representing more than 55 million residents — asked Trump in the letter to defend the program against the challenge.

Neither the White House nor the Justice Department have said whether the administration will defend the program if Paxton follows through on his threat.

In their letter, the coalition touted the economic benefits of the program and the importance of integrating recipients of DACA into the nation.

“You have singular power and influence to shape this moment in American history, and ‘show great heart’ — as well as pragmatism and economic sense — in your decision about how to protect our young, undocumented immigrants who have relied on the U.S. government’s word for security and stability,” read the letter to Trump.

Trump has said he supports DACA recipients but hasn’t said whether he believes in the legality of the program. In February, he said he would “show great heart” in finding a permanent solution for the group’s migratory status.

Although different bills have been presented in Congress that would make permanent the benefits awarded to DACA recipients, the White House has refused to support any of those initiatives.

Still, the co-signers of the letter appealed to Trump’s sense of pragmatism.

This article was originally published in The Hill. Follow the conversation at #DefendDACA.