San Jose sues over DACA repeal

Aileen Xue

The Trump administration’s plans to rescind Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) has resulted in uproar across the nation. Cities like San Jose, the first to take legal action against the Trump administration, and states such as California, the first to become a sanctuary state, have all come forth to file lawsuits against the Trump administration for its unconstitutional actions in ending DACA and withdrawing its support for the undocumented immigrants residing in the U.S.

DACA was established by the Obama administration in June 2012 to give undocumented immigrants who arrived in the U.S. before the age of 16 protection from deportation. The program also allows these immigrants to receive an education and obtain jobs that they otherwise would not have had access to. These beneficiaries are also known as “Dreamers” due to the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) act which is a proposal similar to DACA but was never passed in Congress. In order to be eligible for DACA, one must currently be under the age of 30, have resided in the U.S. for at least five years, have attended or be attending high school and never have committed a federal felony or been seen as a threat to public safety. DACA currently helps over 800,000 undocumented immigrants, 23,000 of whom live in the Santa Clara County.

“DACA serves as a symbol of inclusivity, hospitality and hope,” said sophomore Rachana Muvvala. “Many come to America in pursuit of a better life, and DACA enables immigrants to reach their full potential in a country filled with opportunities.”

Despite the large number of immigrants dependent on DACA, President Trump announced his intention to rescind the program on Sept. 5. Dreamers could begin to lose their DACA status as soon as 2018 if the program is rescinded. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has stopped processing all new applications for DACA as of Sept. 5 and the window for Dreamers to apply for a work permit renewal ended on Oct. 5. Trump has given Congress six months to come up with a solution and will revisit the issue in March 2018 if no solution has been provided by then.

“President Trump may say that he will revisit DACA after six months but he is actually just putting the burden on Congress to come up with a law before the renewing process,” said history teacher Nhat Nguyen. “Since Congress is very bipartisan when it comes to issues which are not just republican or democratic, coming up with a solution will be a difficult process.”

Since Trump’s announcement, there has been an influx of protests where DACA supporters defend the program and protest the Trump administration decision. Many of these protests have taken place in cities like Los Angeles, Denver and San Jose, where Dreamers make up a significant percentage of the population.

“If I was forced to return to Turkey after I have become so well integrated into this community, I would feel very frustrated and do things that I normally wouldn’t consider doing,” said sophomore Kerem Arslan who immigrated to California  from Turkey 14 months ago. “I would not be silent and would definitely stand up against the Trump administration.”

On Sept. 14, San Jose announced that it would be the first city to sue the Trump administration for not only violating the equal protection clause of the fifth amendment and other federal laws, but the city’s economy and community in the process.

“By rescinding DACA, the Trump administration has pulled the rug out from under the dreams and noble aspirations of 800,000 of our country’s young men and women,” said San Jose mayor Sam Liccardo in a press conference on Sept. 14. “They’re building and sustaining America, while they’re giving new life to the American Dream. If we’re going to protect our Dreamers, we need to take action. We cannot wait for some potential, hopeful solution to emerge from a Congress that has appeared deadlocked on many, many issues.”

Aside from its lawsuit against the Trump administration, San Jose, along with California as a whole, is also providing funding for the extensive application costs that Dreamers need to reapply to DACA. $30 million has been set aside to provide financial and legal support for Dreamers, $500,000 of which will help California college students who could otherwise not afford the $495 fee to reapply for DACA.

San Jose is not alone in its support for DACA and stands with 18 states including New York, Washington and Pennsylvania that have all filed lawsuits as well. California, in particular, where over 200,000 Dreamers reside, has even become a sanctuary state for these immigrants by preventing  authorities and law enforcement officers from pressing immigrants about their immigration status and giving immigrant inmates more protection.

FUHSD has voiced its support of the Dreamers in San Jose’s community as well; all students in the district will be welcomed and will be given an education regardless of their status as a Dreamer.

“Dreamers will feel more safe coming to school because they know they won’t lose their education privileges as a result of the Trump administration’s intentions,” said freshman Rashmi Ramchandra. “They can now live like a normal high school student and explore all that Lynbrook has to offer.”

With hundreds of thousands of DACA beneficiaries in the U.S, Trump administration’s intentions to rescind the program significantly impacts the undocumented immigrants trying to achieve the American Dream. As the first city to file a lawsuit against the Trump administration, and the first state to become a sanctuary state, San Jose and California are both at the forefront of the charges pressed against the Trump administration and are standing up for the immigrant residents and their rights and freedoms.