In summary

California is home to one in four undocumented young people protected by an Obama-era program that the Trump administration just ended—numbers that have prompted state Attorney General Xavier Becerra to announce he plans to file a lawsuit against the administration over its decision.

California is home to one in four undocumented young people protected by an Obama-era program that the Trump administration just ended—numbers that have prompted state Attorney General Xavier Becerra to announce today that he will file a lawsuit to thwart the president.

Becerra said California will be hurt the most by the decimation of DACA, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. He added that he would file the legal challenge soon, and that it would be separate from but similar to a challenge filed earlier in the day by 15 states and the District of Columbia. That suit contends that terminating the program is “unconstitutional” because it represents the culmination of President Trump’s efforts to go after those with Mexican roots.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra

Yesterday U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the administration was effectively ending the program in six months. No new applications are being accepted. Current Deferred Action recipients have until October to apply for a renewal. That would give them an additional two years in the program, which provides work permits and protection from deportation.

The Trump administration says it’s up to Congress to determine whether to pass legislation to shield from deportation young immigrants, many of whom call themselves DREAMers after a past unsuccessful attempt to legislate their protection, known as the Dream Act. Some 800,000 people were eligible, because they had been brought to the U.S. illegally before age 16, had lived here for at least five years, were in school, had graduated from high school or were military veterans, and had clean criminal records.

Trump and many Republicans have contended that President Obama overstepped his constitutional authority by using an executive order to create the protection of DACA.

How likely is it that challenges by Becerra and others to retain DACA would prevail in the courts? Some legal experts note that the U.S. Supreme Court last year split 4-to-4 on the issue, leaving in place one injunction against Obama’s immigration action. Assuming that means that four current justices regard Obama’s creation of DACA as unlawful, the deciding vote in a future court contest would be cast by the court’s newest addition: conservative Trump appointee Neil Gorsuch.

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Elizabeth Aguilera

Elizabeth Aguilera is an award-winning multimedia journalist who covers health and social services for CalMatters. She joined CalMatters in 2016 from Southern California Public Radio/KPCC 89.3 where she...