For Immediate Release - July 21, 2017

AG Healey Joins Coalition of 20 Attorneys General Urging President Trump to Maintain DACA

BOSTON – Attorney General Maura Healey today joined a coalition of 20 attorneys general urging President Trump to maintain and defend the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA), which has allowed 800,000 eligible individuals throughout the country to register for deferred action. 

“DACA has given people who came to this country as children a chance to succeed,” said AG Healey. “After growing up and going to school in the United States, DACA allows these individuals to work and contribute positively to our communities. We all know that many parts of our immigration system need improvement, but DACA works.”

The letter states that since 2012, when the initiative went into effect, nearly 800,000 individuals who were brought to the U.S. as children were granted DACA after they completed applications, passed a background check, and applied for a work permit. As a result of DACA, the coalition argues, these individuals are now key contributors in our economies, because they are not only working, they also have purchasing power to buy homes, cars and other goods and services.

The attorneys general argue that “the consequences of rescinding DACA would be severe, not just for the hundreds of thousands of young people who rely on the program—and for their employers, schools, universities, and families—but for the country’s economy as a whole…American businesses would face billions in turnover costs, as employers would lose qualified workers whom they have trained and in whom they have invested.”

The attorneys general also note that “as the chief law officers of our respective states, we strongly believe that DACA has made our communities safer, enabling these young people to report crimes to police without fear of deportation.”

This action comes in direct response to a letter sent by the Texas Attorney General and nine other states threatening to take legal action if the administration does not end the DACA program promptly. Today’s coalition urges the President to maintain the program because the arguments in opposition are “wrong as a matter of law and policy.” The multistate group also seeks to hold President Trump accountable for his prior assurances that DACA-eligible individuals are not targets for arrest and deportation.

Last month, AG Healey led a coalition of 10 attorneys general in demanding that the Trump Administration turn over information about detention and deportation of individuals registered for DACA, and responses are expected next month. AG Healey has also issued guidance to health care providers and local public school districts in Massachusetts following inquiries about the impact of federal immigration policies and executive orders on patients and students, and sent an advisory reminding local public school districts of their obligation under state and federal law to provide all students with equal access to primary and secondary education, irrespective of citizenship or immigration status.

Joining today’s coalition are attorneys general from California, Massachusetts. Connecticut, Delaware, Hawai’i, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia, Vermont, Washington and Washington, D.C.