Gov. Andrew Cuomo and state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman plan to sue President Trump over his decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program for undocumented residents.
Trump announced Tuesday that over the next six months he will be winding down the program, known as DACA, which gives legal protections to nearly 800,000 people in the United States.
President Barack Obama created DACA to give amnesty to illegal immigrants who were brought to the United States in their early childhood. But Trump pledged during the 2016 campaign to end the program, says it has no legal basis and invited a humanitarian crisis by sparking mass immigration into the United States from Central America.
On Labor Day, Cuomo and Schneiderman, both Democrats, said they would sue the Trump administration. Mayor Bill de Blasio also said that the city would go to the courts and to Congress.
“If he moves forward with this cruel action, New York State will sue to protect the ‘dreamers’ and the state’s sovereign interest in the fair and equal application of the law,” Cuomo said on Monday.
At an unrelated news conference Tuesday morning, the governor added: “President Trump is talking about DACA and rescinding DACA, which is just feeding the beast of bigotry red meat. That’s all this is about.”
Schneiderman said DREAM-ers, as DACA beneficiaries are called, are “vital members of our community.”
“The poem at the base of the Statue of Liberty — written by the descendant of early Jewish immigrants — promises this nation will ‘lift its lamp’ for the huddled masses,” he said in a statement. “New York will never break that promise. And neither will my office.”
In a press conference on Tuesday morning, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that the Department of Homeland Security will not process new applications for the program, only those already in the pipeline. Trump urged Congress to pass immigration legislation within the next six months and said DHS would not prioritize DACA beneficiaries in deportation or enforcement matters.
Critics of Trump’s move said it would force many hard-working U.S. residents at the prime of their lives into an underground economy in the best-case scenario. At worst, it would force them to leave the only country they have ever known as home, they say. A torrent of liberals, conservatives, unions and business groups all came out opposed to Trump’s move on Tuesday.
But legal scholars say that DACA faced uncertain odds in the courts. Ten state attorneys general from Republican-controlled states are suing to stop the program, citing the lack of congressional authorization.
New York’s congressional delegation denounced Trump’s move. Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer said that most Americans “know how heartless the DACA decision is.”
“The human and economic toll of rescinding DACA will be far reaching and Democrats will do everything we can to prevent President Trump’s terribly wrong order from becoming reality,” Schumer said.
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand said that the decision is “an affront to who we are as Americans.”
“This does not make our communities safer or our economy stronger,” Gillibrand said. “In fact, it does just the opposite. Congress must lead where the President won’t and pass the DREAM Act. America does not merely tolerate immigration — we thrive on it, and we are better than needlessly targeting hardworking young adults to score crass partisan points.”
Queens Congressman Joseph Crowley, House Democratic caucus chairman, said that the decision was “predictable” given that Trump has “routinely demonized immigrants, elevated politics above principles” and catered to “the most extreme voices in his party.”
“It is now time for Republicans in Congress to stand up,” Crowley said. “At a minimum, Congress must act to reverse this harmful and revolting policy change. Bicameral legislation has been introduced that would protect this population — and there is no reason for Republicans to deny bringing it to the House and Senate floors for a vote.”
Brooklyn Congresswoman Yvette Clarke called the move a “reckless and cruel decision.”
“Donald Trump has chosen, however, to punish them, in a misguided effort to undermine the proud legacy of President Obama and to satisfy anti-immigrant white supremacists who are afraid of our modern, diverse nation,” Clarke said. “Throughout the history of the United States, there are decisions we have come to regret. I am certain that future generations will deeply regret this terrible decision as well.”