Colorado to Trump: We're Joining the Lawsuit Against DACA Repeal

The lawsuit says that DACA students are now more vulnerable to removal by agents from Immigration and Customs Enforcement than they were before the program was started.
The lawsuit says that DACA students are now more vulnerable to removal by agents from Immigration and Customs Enforcement than they were before the program was started. ICE file photo via YouTube
Today, September 13, the State of Colorado announced that it will join a lawsuit originally filed by New York challenging President Donald Trump's plan to pull the plug on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, shorthanded as DACA. In a statement about his reasons for taking this action, Governor John Hickenlooper said, "President Trump’s decision to end the DACA program is outrageous and risks the futures of more than 17,000 Coloradans."

One member of this group is Marco Dorado, who was brought to the United States at age three. Thanks to DACA, which was instituted by President Barack Obama via executive action, he was able to attend the University of Colorado Boulder, where he was elected a student body president. As Dorado told us for a post published on September 6, the day after Senator Michael Bennet told his story on the floor of the U.S. Senate, "The impact of this is not just on those of us who have DACA, but also on our neighborhoods, our cities and our country. This is a big segment of our population, and it's a segment that's as American as it can be. I was raised in the United States, I graduated from high school and college in the United States, and I'm a working professional in the United States" — as the program coordinator for the Latino Leadership Institute at the University of Denver.

The lawsuit, which is accessible below in its entirety, doesn't shy away from castigating Trump, who has insisted that he loves the Dreamers and claims that he was forced to deep-six the program because of a threat from attorneys general in Texas and nine other states to file a DACA complaint of their own.

"Ending DACA, whose participants are mostly of Mexican origin, is a culmination of President’s Trump’s oft-stated commitments — whether personally held, stated to appease some portion of his constituency, or some combination thereof — to punish and disparage people with Mexican roots," notes the U.S. District Court document, which was filed in the Eastern District of New York. "The consequence of the President’s animus-driven decision is that approximately 800,000 persons who have availed themselves of the program will ultimately lose its protections, and will be exposed to removal when their authorizations expire and they cannot seek renewal. The individuals who have relied on DACA are now more vulnerable to removal than before the program was initiated, as they turned over sensitive information to the federal government in their applications."

click to enlarge
Governor John Hickenlooper during an appearance on Fox News.
File photo
The suit adds that "rescinding DACA will cause harm to hundreds of thousands of the States’ residents, injure State-run colleges and universities, upset the States’ workplaces, damage the States’ economies, hurt State-based companies, and disrupt the States’ statutory and regulatory interests. The States respectfully request that this Court invalidate the portions of the DHS Memorandum challenged here. Further, the States ask that the Court enjoin the federal government from using data gathered for the DACA program in immigration enforcement."

New York was one of fifteen states named in the original lawsuit. In a further explanation of his reasons for taking up their cause, Hickenlooper maintains that "Colorado benefits when Dreamers have the opportunity to thrive in our communities and the only country they’ve ever known. These young people should not have to suffer because of our broken immigration system. While this lawsuit is no substitute for the sort of comprehensive immigration reform that can only come from Congress, it sends a necessary message that the rule of law and basic notions of fairness still matter in this country. We urge Congress to immediately pass the Dream Act, ensuring that these young people can plan for their future here in the United States. We also repeat our call for Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform."

Dorado has the same goals. As he made clear in our interview last week, he's been heartened by "the outpouring of support that's come out in favor of people with DACA and for the Dream Act. It makes me think about the idea of this Mexican proverb: 'They buried us, but they didn't know we were seeds.' So they might be trying to take DACA away from us, but we're not going to compromise our values and our existence because of this extreme agenda that's come in with this administration. We're here, and we're going to stay here."

Click to read State of New York et al. v. Trump et al.
KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts