In late June, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, along with the attorneys general from eight additional states and Governor “Butch” Otter from Idaho, sent a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions demanding he rescind DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) by September 5.
If, they threatened, the Secretary of Homeland Security does not “rescind the June 15, 2012 DACA memorandum and order that the executive branch will not renew or issue any new DACA or Expanded DACA permits in the future,” Texas, Arkansas, Alabama, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Nebraska, South Carolina, Tennessee and West Virginia would file a lawsuit.
DACA is a temporary program that allows certain undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. before they were 16 years old and were 30 or younger as of June 2012 to apply for a two-year reprieve from deportation and work permit, renewable every two years. For the last five years, nearly 800,000 young people have received work permits under DACA. Several hundred thousand more people are eligible or will age into the program. Fully 72 percent of DACA applicants have been in the United States for more than ten years.
Many LGBTQ Californians would be profoundly impacted by the rescission of DACA. According to the highly-respected Williams Institute, there are over 75,000 LGBT DREAMers across the country, of whom more than half (36,000) have participated in DACA.
Closer to home, Equality California estimates there are more than 250,000 undocumented LGBT Californians who will continue to live in daily fear of deportations that rip families apart.
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra quickly responded to Paxton’s demand, pointing out that approximately one quarter of the nation’s DACA recipients, an estimated 222,000 “Dreamers,” reside in California. “While some leaders in other states may not wish to stand with our young immigrant brothers and sisters, daughters and sons, we do,” he said. “Instead of scapegoating our kids, we should be ensuring that they can fulfill their potential.”
Becerra made it clear that California would act if DACA is rescinded as demanded. “We’re prepared to do everything we can within the powers that I have as the Attorney General to defend the people of our state, including the Dreamers.”
Equality California lauds AG Becerra for his firm stance and remains committed to supporting our state’s undocumented immigrant and refugee populations, which include thousands of LGBTQ Californians.