SAN JOSE (KPIX 5) — San Jose is suing President Trump for moving to rescind Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), claiming that his action is unconstitutional and is causing harm to the city, residents and employers.
On Thursday, San Jose filed a complaint alleging rescission of DACA has already hurt the city, its residents and city employees, some of whom are DACA recipients.
California is home to more than a quarter of all DACA recipients, known as “dreamers” and at least 23,000 dreamers live in Santa Clara County, with many residing in the county’s largest city, San Jose.
“The City would suffer tangible losses from the Trump Administration’s actions given the significant services, work product, and taxes that these employees currently contribute to their community,” city officials said.
The complaint was filed less than a day after President Trump met with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York and agreed to protect certain immigrants brought illegally into the U.S. as children and enhancements to U.S. border security.
San Jose is believed to be the first city to sue Trump over the rescission of DACA. Since the change was announced on September 5 by U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, already the University of California and 15 U.S. states — including California — have sued Trump over the change.
The Trump administration is giving Congress six months to come up with a legislative fix before the government stops renewing permits for people who are already covered by the program.
In a statement following the Trump administration’s announcement to rescind DACA, San Jose Mayor Sam Liccadro said, “Punting the issue to Congress, without any affirmative leadership to enact a legislative solution, amounts to a cowardly cop-out, placing the futures of these young women and men in serious jeopardy.”
Throughout his campaign and presidency, Trump made disparaging comments about immigrants, but he also made numerous statements sympathetic to DACA recipients.
“You have 800,000 young people brought here, no fault of there own. So we’re working on a plan, we’ll see how it works out,” Trump told reporters on Thursday.
The president said via Twitter on Thursday, “Does anybody really want to throw out good, educated and accomplished young people who have jobs, some serving in the military? Really!…..”
But the damage caused by announcing plans to end the DACA program has already been felt in San Jose, according to the complaint.
“For San Jose, the ability to hire DACA recipients has been extremely beneficial. San Jose, like the rest of the Silicon Valley, has the need for a skilled work force. Unemployment in Santa Clara County is low and competition for employees is fierce. When DACA was enacted, San Jose was able to hire DACA grantees. San Jose spent time and resources training these employees and they hold jobs vital to the operation of San Jose,” the complaint reads.
The complaint describes how Silicon Valley companies like Apple, Cisco, Adobe, Facebook, and Google, among others, hired DACA recipients to meet the need for skilled workers and claims those companies would be negatively impacted if the program is rescinded.
The move to rescind DACA, the complaint alleges, means that the city has had to prepare for the possibility that the U.S. Congress won’t come to an agreement on DACA by March 5, 2018 and that the city will no longer be able to employ DACA recipients because they are no longer legally allowed to work in the country.
At the same time, the complaint states, it is illegal for San Jose to terminate employees because of their nationality or immigration status.
The city has not only had to divert resources toward planning for the potential end of DACA and loss of city workers, but because of the taxes that DACA recipients pay, San Jose is also facing loss of tax revenues, according to the complaint.
The lawsuit claims that Trump and Acting Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, Elaine Duke, unlawfully targeted individuals for discriminatory treatment based on their national origin.
The city is seeking a declaration from the court that the rescission of DACA is unconstitutional and seeks an injunction prohibiting DACA’s rescission and prohibiting deportation of DACA recipients.
By Hannah Albarazi – Follow her on Twitter: @hannahalbarazi.