NYC Council Speaker Could Join DACA Lawsuits

The speaker could be empowered to represent the legislative body in lawsuits challenging the repeal of or changes to DACA.

City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and Brooklyn Councilman Carlos Menchaca at the “March for Immigrant New York.” Maite H. Mateo/VIEWpress/Corbis via Getty Images

The City Council is considering a resolution on Tuesday that will empower City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito to represent the city in any legal briefs that challenge the repeal of or changes to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

On Monday, the Council’s Immigration Committee passed a resolution that permits Mark-Viverito to file or join amicus briefs on behalf of the Council in litigating challenging the revocation or modification of the DACA program for undocumented youth brought into the United States in their early childhood. The program, which President Donald Trump ended last month, was created by former President Barack Obama in 2012.

The Council is considering the resolution at its monthly stated meeting on Tuesday.

“As the futures of DREAMers across the nation have been repeatedly attacked, we at the City Council have made it clear that we stand with undocumented immigrants throughout the city and throughout the United States,” Mark-Viverito said during the monthly pre-stated meeting.

In September, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security will no longer process new applications for the program, except for the applications that were already submitted. Trump called on Congress to pass immigration legislation within the next six months and said that DHS would not prioritize DACA beneficiaries in deportation or enforcement matters.

The program offers amnesty to nearly 800,000 people in the United States, including close to 42,000 in New York.

Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi have been working on an agreement with Trump to protect DACA.┬áBut the Trump administration recently presented a list of priorities for any deal that includes the border wall along the southern border, an extra 10,000 immigration enforcement officers and withholding federal funding for so-called “sanctuary cities” for undocumented immigrants.”

Brooklyn Councilman Carlos Menchaca, chairman of the Council’s Committee on Immigration, said that the resolution marks a “major step forward.”

“This is something that we’ve been committed to as a City Council and the speaker being the loudest voice, making sure that we are at the table in this discussion,” Menchaca said. “We wanna ensure that our friends and neighbors and in any and all cases our families stay in this country to continue to pursue their dreams. DREAMers deserve that opportunity to pursue the American dream without fear of discrimination, without fear of deportation.”

He said that the Council will take whatever steps necessary to support DACA recipients.

“We will also use every legal tool available to us to protect DACA recipients,” Menchaca continued. “We will protest. We will do whatever it takes to protect the immigrants of our city and the United States at large.”

NYC Council Speaker Could Join DACA Lawsuits