WASHINGTON - Fifteen states and Washington, D.C., are suing the Trump administration to stop plans to end the program that keeps young undocumented immigrants from deportation.
The attorneys general filed their lawsuit Wednesday in a federal court in Brooklyn, New York.
They argue that the decision to scrap the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals is unconstitutional because it would deny those affected the due process of law against arbitrary punishment.
New York state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman called Trump’s plans “cruel, shortsighted and inhumane.” He accused the president of showing his bias against Mexicans and Latinos.
There has been no comment so far from the White House.
‘Take care of this situation’
But Trump said Wednesday he is confident Congress will act to protect 800,000 young people from deportation.
“Congress, I really believe, wants to take care of this situation,” Trump said aboard Air Force One before heading to North Dakota for a speech about tax reform. “I really believe it, even very conservative members of Congress.”
Trump is giving Congress six months to vote on the issue. He said would revisit his decision to lift the ban on deportations if Congress did not act. He did not make it clear if that means he would change his mind.
Many Democrats and some Republicans, along with U.S. business leaders, have strongly criticized Trump for overturning DACA, former President Barack Obama created by memorandum when Congress failed to act on immigration reform.
“I think Congress really wants to do this,” Trump said, adding he would like immigration legislation that includes protection for the undocumented immigrants and “something where we have good border security.”
Many undocumented immigrants under DACA go to school or are in the U.S. military. Some own businesses that employ U.S. citizens and others. Most say they were brought to the United States as children by their parents who may have come illegally and say the U.S. is the only country they know.
Trump has pressed for tighter immigration controls and called for construction of a wall on the country’s southern border with Mexico to thwart more migrants from entering the country, but the proposal remains controversial and Congress has not adopted it.
‘Symptom of larger problem’
Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan said lawmakers would work in the coming months to find a compromise in how to protect the undocumented immigrants from being deported.
But Ryan described their plight as “a symptom of a larger problem. And the larger problem is that we do not have control of our borders. And so it’s only reasonable and fitting that we also address the root cause of the problem, which is borders that are not sufficiently controlled, while we address this very real and very human problem that’s right in front of us.”
Key Democratic lawmakers called for passage of what they are calling the Dream Act, which would protect the undocumented immigrants but not address broader immigration issues. Four Republican senators have announced their support for it, but Democrats need another eight Republicans for Senate passage.
Trump has said he has “great love” for the young immigrants, who are known as Dreamers.
“I would say this to President Trump: If you love the Dreamers, help us pass the Dream Act,” Democratic Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois said. “I would say to the Republicans in Congress who are not swept away by the anti-immigrant rhetoric, which we have heard over and over again: Stand up with us.’”
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said Democrats want Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to “immediately put the Dream Act on the floor for a vote in the House and Senate. We’re ready to pass it. I am confident that if put on the floor it will garner overwhelming support from both sides of the aisle.”
Schumer said if the Dream Act is not passed this month, Democrats will attempt to attach it to other legislation until it passes.