New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir S Grewal is seeking to intervene in a Texas-led lawsuit that aims to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, Northjersey.com reported.
Grewal, in a brief filed on May 21, said that New Jersey should be allowed to intervene in the Texas lawsuit as a defendant because terminating DACA would directly harm New Jersey and its residents. Over 17,000 New Jersey residents benefit from the Obama-era program, which protects deportation of undocumented migrants — referred to as “Dreamers” — who came to the United States as children.
Grewal pointed out that DACA grantees are “ full members of the New Jersey community” as health care professionals, artists, entrepreneurs, teachers, lawyers, bankers, software developers, designers, research assistants, professors, architects and construction workers, some of whom own homes and cars and have family members who are citizens.
New Jersey has a proprietary interest in ensuring the “continued operation and vitality” of state agencies that employ DACA grantees, and of its colleges and universities, which enroll and also employ them, he said. New Jersey has a strong interest in protecting its state treasury and the state’s economy, added Grewal, who assumed office in January, becoming the first Sikh American attorney general in the country.
“Without the ability to work to support themselves, many DACA students may be forced to drop out of school without finishing their degrees. That would cost New Jersey’s public educational institutions hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost tuition revenue,” he said.
“Dreamers are as American as those of us who were born here, and we’ll do everything we can to protect them. Unfortunately, the State of Texas has brought a lawsuit to force the federal government to end protections for Dreamers, an action that would put 17,000 New Jersey residents at risk of deportation,” Grewal said.
Citing the New American Economy report that the spending power of DACA-eligible people in New Jersey was estimated at $679.7 million in 2015, and that they pay $57.2 million in state and local taxes, Grewal said that typically, the U.S. Department of Justice would be responsible for defending DACA from lawsuits such as the one filed by Texas and other states.
“But given everything going on in Washington these days, it’s clear that New Jersey needs to step in to protect the interests of Dreamers in our state and across the country,” he added.
Texas and six other states filed a lawsuit in the Southern District of Texas earlier this month, asking the federal government to implement its plan to end DACA. The program is “illegal” since it was created without congressional action, the lawsuit said. It is looking to halt the processing of renewal applications.