Herring continues fight to protect DREAMers

mark herring
Mark Herring

Attorney General Mark R. Herring has joined a coalition of 17 attorneys general in continuing the fight against the Trump administration’s efforts to threaten DREAMers with deportation.

After the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in June that the Trump Administration’s attempts to cancel the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program were unlawful, the program was supposed to resume. Instead of continuing to process new applications, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security issued a new memorandum on July 28 by the purported acting secretary of Homeland Security, Chad Wolf, which directed DHS to make interim changes to the program, including declining to accept any new initial DACA applications, while Wolf considered whether to fully rescind DACA.

Currently, more than 12,000 young people have been approved for DACA in Virginia.

In a motion for partial summary judgment filed Friday against President Donald Trump, DHS, the purported-Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the coalition amends the initial September 2017 complaint on DACA and asks the court to immediately vacate the Wolf memo on the ground that it is, like the initial Trump Administration policy to rescind DACA, unlawful.

Additionally, Herring and his colleagues argue that it should never have been carried out since Wolf is not lawfully serving in the role as acting secretary of Homeland Security.

“DREAMers play an integral role in Virginia’s communities, at our colleges and universities, and they have added billions of dollars to our economy,” Herring said. “This country is the only home most of these talented young people have ever known and we cannot allow the Trump administration to continue to try and rip them away from their lives here. DREAMers deserve to live, work, and raise a family in the Commonwealth as much as any other Virginian.

“With this most recent memo, the Trump Administration is blatantly and illegally defying the Supreme Court’s ruling from only a few months ago. I will never stop fighting to protect DREAMers and ensure that they are able to stay in Virginia, making it a more vibrant, stronger, better place.”

DREAMers are foreign-born young people who were brought to the United States at a young age and now identify themselves as Americans. Most have no memory of or connection with the country where they were born, and many don’t speak any language other than English.

Under immigration law before the DACA program, most of these young people had no way to gain legal residency in the United States, even though they had lived most their lives in the U.S. Since 2012, under the Obama administration, more than 825,000 young people, who were brought to this country at a young age, were promised that if they came out of the shadows, they could legally work, study, serve in the military, and raise families in the United States without fear of arrest or deportation.

DACA also provides immense societal benefits, with DREAMers working a variety of critical job functions including teachers, healthcare workers, IT specialists, among numerous other professions. DACA recipients also provide vital financial support to their families, and to enhance the economies of their local communities — contributing approximately $8.7 billion each year in federal, state, and local taxes across the country.

In Virginia alone, DACA recipients contribute more than $711 million annually to the state’s economy. Additionally, many DREAMers are also fighting for their communities in the battle against the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) public health crisis as essential workers More than 9,200 DREAMers are serving their communities on the frontlines in health care, education, and food-related jobs alone.

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