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Hawaiʻi AG Challenges Department of Homeland Security

December 27, 2018, 8:20 AM HST
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Hawai‘i Attorney General Russell A. Suzuki challenged the Department of Homeland Security’s for what he calls the “unlawful practice” of automatically terminating Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival status for some recipients.

Suzuki joined a multi-state coalition in filing an amicus brief opposing the terminations on the basis of “failing to meet due process and contradicting its own written policies.”

According to the brief, the DHS has allegedly been engaging in the unlawful practice of terminating DACA grants and work authorizations “based solely on the issuance of a Notice to Appear charging recipients with unlawful presence.”

The attorneys general argue that DHS has failed to provide these DACA recipients with notice or an opportunity to contest the termination, as required under the DACA program’s written procedures.

“DACA recipients have a right to rely on the law,” said AG Suzuki. “The government’s unlawful practice is inflicting irreparable harm on DACA recipients that will be felt for years to come.”

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In the brief, the states argue that DHS’s policy harms DACA recipients, their families and communities. The coalition contends that DACA recipients have been part of their communities since childhood, and have strong family and business ties.

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According to a 2018 survey of DACA recipients, over 70% of respondents have a spouse, child, parent or sibling who is a US citizen.

“Revoking DACA status harms DACA recipients by stripping them of legal authorization to work, forcing them back into the shadows and hampering their ability to provide for their families, including US-citizen children,” according to the coalition.

The coalition also claims that states suffer significant harm from the “improper termination” of DACA grants. DACA and its accompanying work authorization has enabled recipients to enroll in colleges and universities, earn degrees, become medical professionals and teachers, serve in the US military, open businesses, start families and purchase homes.

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DACA recipients make substantial contributions to both the state and US economy and contribute over $1.2 billion a year in state and local taxes.

Finally, the states argue that DHS’s failure to follow its own written procedures for the DACA program “causes uncertainty, fear and confusion” in DACA recipients and “undermines the public’s trust in the government.”

The coalition contends that hundreds of thousands of residents in the amici states applied for DACA trusting that the federal government would follow its own rules and comply with the law.

In filing the brief, Attorney General Suzuki joined the attorneys general of California, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington and the District of Columbia.

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