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Seven U.S. States File Lawsuit to Seek End to DACA Program

A protest rally for DACA in New York City in September 2017.

Seven states in the United States filed a lawsuit on May 1 against the Donald Trump administration, asking for an end to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, CNN reported.

The U.S. states that are a part of the lawsuit are Texas, Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Nebraska, South Carolina and West Virginia. The lawsuit, which is being led by Texas, claimed that former President Barack Obama’s creation of the DACA program was unlawful as it violated the U.S. constitution and federal law, as per the report.

The lawsuit could possibly be in conflict with rulings from judges in three different judicial regions of the country —Columbia, Brooklyn and San Francisco — which earlier blocked the end of DACA program that protects young undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as children.

“The executive unilaterally conferred lawful presence and work authorization on otherwise unlawfully present aliens, and then the executive used that lawful-presence ‘dispensation’ to unilaterally confer United States citizenship,” the lawsuit stated.

It has urged the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas to “immediately rescind and cancel all DACA permits currently in existence because they are unlawful.” It asked for an end to the issuing or renewing of DACA permits in the future, “effectively phasing out the program within two years.”

The case was re-assigned to district Judge Andrew Hanen on May 1. Hanen is the judge who had initially issued the nationwide ruling that prevented DACA’s expansion through a similar program in 2014, according to CNN.

“As of August 2017, as many as 39,514 aliens had used their DACA status to obtain a pathway to citizenship, through the conferral of lawful permanent-resident status (commonly known as LPR or green card status), and approximately 1,056 alien DACA recipients with LPR status had obtained United States citizenship,” the lawsuit said.

It also stated that the court has the authority to immediately rescind and cancel all DACA permits currently in existence because they are unlawful.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), a nonprofit organization working to defend and preserve individual rights and liberties guaranteed by the U.S constitution and laws, lashed back at the latest move on the social media.

The United States administration said in 2017 that the DACA program would end on March 5 this year, but it was stopped following multiple lawsuits and intervention from judges.

In April, Columbia district judge John Bates overturned the decision to stop the DACA program, ruling that the government has to accept new applications. The ruling, however, did not come into play immediately as the judge allowed the administration 90 days to make its case in a new memo to justify the end of the program. Bates was the third federal judge to order the administration to continue the program while the litigation is ongoing.