State Attorney General Xavier Becerra said a federal judge’s decision Tuesday evening to block the Trump administration from phasing out the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program “reaffirms that nobody, not even the president of the United States, is above the law.”
Becerra, the son of Mexican immigrants, said the court ruling by U.S. District Judge William Alsup made Wednesday “a good day for Dreamers and California.”
“This is a huge step forward, but the fight is not over,” said Becerra during a 22-minute press conference held in Los Ángeles. “With this particular court victory, which is only temporary, the question now turns to Congress and the president. Will they act?”
President Donald J. Trump, who ended DACA last September, met with Congressional leaders at the White House yesterday and responded positively to Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s suggestion that a “clean” Dream Act should be negotiated quickly and that a more comprehensive immigration reform package can be worked on later. However, Trump later tweeted that a Dream Act must include a border wall, an end to “chain” migration and other items.
Sarah Huckabee Sanders called Alsup’s ruling “outrageous.”
“An issue of this magnitude must go through the normal legislative process,” said Sanders. “President Trump is committed to the rule of law, and will work with members of both parties to reach a permanent solution that corrects the unconstitutional actions taken by the last administration.
The court said very clearly, the DACA program must remain in place. But, we know we need a lasting solution that goes beyond the duration of this lawsuit. The Dreamers deserve to have certainty.
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra
Becerra acknowledged the court ruling was temporary. “It is time for Congress to give us a lasting solution.”
Alsup ruled that safeguards against deportation for an estimated 800,000 so-called Dreamers must stay in place while a legal challenge to ending the program proceeds. He said the ruling should apply nationwide.
The court decision applies only to DACA recipients who have been unable to reapply for a two-year renewal of their status, which allows them to get a work permit, apply for a driver’s license and not be a priority for deportation from federal officials.
Becerra said Trump’s effort to dismantle DACA has led to many Dreamers decide to drop out of college or leave their jobs. Those actions, he said, harm California, because it is home to 200,000 Dreamers who would otherwise contribute to the state’s success.
“Last night when the court ruled, we knew we were one step closer to providing justice for people who work very hard,” said Becerra, who said those affected are first responders, our classmates, our professors, our gardeners. “They are us.”
Becerra, who has filed a number of lawsuits against Trump and his administration, took a dig at the president.
“What the president did my not last much longer, and the DACA program will,” said Becerra, who answered media questions in English and Spanish. “Those who were against Dreamers just lost in a big way. The court said there was arbitrarily and capricious” efforts to eliminate DACA.
Becerra said Trump’s own words against DACA made a convincing case in court.
Becerra, in response to a question, said the court ruling should spur the Trump administration and Congress to find a permanent fix without adding the border wall and other items.
“Quit trying to load up a measure to fix DACA with this antiquated, nonsensical idea to build a border wall,” said Becerra.
He cautioned DACA holders to consult with a trusted adviser or lawyer to figure out their next step. The Trump administration, which has said it will appeal the decision, has not established an application process.
“If you were a DACA recipient who had his or her status expire, now you have a chance to apply and extend it,” said Becerra. “The court said very clearly, the DACA program must remain in place. But, we know we need a lasting solution that goes beyond the duration of this lawsuit. The Dreamers deserve to have certainty.”
Dream Act bus
United We Dream and a coalition of young immigrant supporters will embark on a Dream Act Bus tour Jan. 11-12 to push for a Dream Act.
The tour will feature rallies and press conferences outside the offices of key Republican House members, along with meetings with elected officials and/or their staff.
Thursday, Jan. 11
▪ 9:30 a.m., Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, 101 Main St, Suite 380, Huntington Beach.
▪ 11:30 a.m., Rep. Mimi Waters, 3333 Michelson Dr., Suite 230, Irvine.
▪ 1:30 p.m., Rep. Ed Royce, 210 W. Birch St., Suite 201, Brea.
▪ 4:30 p.m., Rep. Steve Knight, 26415 Carl Boyer Dr., Santa Clarita.
Friday, Jan. 12
▪ 10 a.m., Rep. David Valadao, 101 N. Irwin St., Suite 110B, Hanford.
▪ 2 p.m., Rep. Jeff Denham, 4701 Sisk Road, Suite 202, Modesto.
People who want to travel on the bus are asked to fill out a Google form at: http://bit.ly/2CZ8Nib
People can also show up at specific sites.