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Press Release

Attorney General Josh Shapiro Takes Legal Action to Protect Dreamers and Preserve DACA

July 23, 2018 | Topic: Rights

Court filing in Texas case with 20 Attorneys General Defends Nearly 6,000 DACA Recipients in PA

HARRISBURG — Attorney General Josh Shapiro, as part of a coalition of 20 Attorneys General, today again took legal action to protect Deferred Action for Early Childhood Arrivals (DACA) grantees.

The legal brief was filed in Texas v. United States, a federal case in which certain states are seeking to end the DACA program, which puts 5,889 Dreamers in Pennsylvania at risk of departure.

In two other federal court cases, Attorney General Shapiro and other attorneys general have obtained preliminary injunctions barring the federal government from ending DACA.

“Despite our two important court victories defending dreamers, this Texas case is another desperate attempt to destroy DACA,” Attorney General Shapiro said. “There are nearly 6,000 ‘Dreamers’ in Pennsylvania who contribute to our economy, our military and quality of life. They came here through no fault of their own as young children in the care of their parents.  They relied on a commitment from the federal government and should be able to depend on that promise—not live in fear.”

Shapiro noted that DACA registrants paid a $495 fee, passed background checks, submitted personal information including their fingerprints and home address, and followed the law as adults. “They went to school, went to work for our country, and paid taxes,” Shapiro said. “We can’t use this information now against them. It’s wrong and I’m fighting against it.”

The brief filed by the Attorneys General argues that the Texas plaintiffs cannot make the legal showing required to obtain a preliminary injunction, and that an injunction should not be granted because it would conflict with two existing injunctions issued by federal district courts in California and New York.

Approximately 800,000 DACA registrants, including 5,889 Pennsylvanians, were brought the United States as infants and young children in the care of their parents. According to the Center for American Progress, 87 percent of DACA grantees in Pennsylvania are employed and generate more than $20 million in state and local taxes annually.

As Attorney General Shapiro and his colleague attorneys general argue in their brief, ending DACA wouldn’t just devastate the lives of the grantees who rely on the program. It would also harm communities, employers, and educational institutions that depend on the contributions of the DACA grantees, including state employers and state institutions — as two courts have already concluded, noting that the States would suffer “staggering” and “irreversible” economic and social harms.

The loss of work authorization by DACA grantees would deprive the States of highly qualified employees, including faculty at state universities, nurses, information technology specialists, and public safety officers. State-run educational institutions would lose students and revenue, hindering their ability to promote critical programming. Without DACA, the Gross Domestic Product would be $460.3 billion less over the next decade, while Social Security and Medicaid tax receipts would drop $24.6 billion.

In addition to Pennsylvania Attorney General Shapiro, the brief was joined by the Attorneys General of New York, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island, Virginia, Vermont, Washington, and the District of Columbia.

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