In summary

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and 19 other states’ chief law enforcement officers issued a letter urging him to save a program that protects nearly 800,000 young immigrants from deportation.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra. Photo by Steve Yeater for CALmatters

Asking President Trump to fulfill his commitment to so-called “DREAMers,” California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and 19 other states’ chief law enforcement officers issued a letter today urging him to save a program that protects nearly 800,000 young immigrants from deportation.

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During the campaign, Trump vowed to end the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, but he’s softened his position since taking office, calling the DACA program’s recipients “incredible kids” who should “rest easy” because they’re not priorities for deportation.

More than a quarter of the five-year-old program’s participants are from California.

“Donald Trump says we should treat DACA grantees ‘with heart’ – and I agree,” Becerra said in a statement. “Instead of frightening kids, we should empower them to fulfill their potential.”

According to the letter, the program has opened doors to college and boosted young immigrants’ purchasing power.

The letter also implores the President not to “capitulate” to a 10-state coalition of Republican officials who have threatened to sue if the program isn’t phased out by September and even asks him to defend it in court should a fresh legal challenge arise.

“We urge you to affirm America’s values and tradition as a nation of immigrants and make clear that you will not only continue DACA, but that you will defend it,” the letter states. “The cost of not doing so would be too high for America, the economy and for those young people.”

Other signatories include attorneys general from: Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia, Vermont, Washington and Washington, D.C.

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