Arguments on Appeal About Immigrants Brought to the United States as Children

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Lawyers hope to save an Obama-era program that prevents the deportation of thousands of people brought to the United States as children told a federal appeals court on Wednesday that ending the program would cruelly disrupt the lives of thousands of people who have grown up to be productive and tax-paying engines of the American economy.

A Texas state attorney leading an effort to end the Deferred Action Program for Childhood Arrivals has argued that DACA recipients have cost the state hundreds of dollars. million in health care and other costs.

The dueling views at the 5th United States Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans were exchanged as more than 100 DACA supporters held signs, beat drums and chanted outside the courthouse of righteousness. They called for the preservation of the program that protects more than 600,000 people from deportation and for a pathway to citizenship for immigrants.

“I’m undocumented and I’m going to speak out today,” said Woojung “Diana” Park, 22, from New York. She said she was brought to the United States at the age of one from South Korea. DACA, she said, “is the bare minimum the US government has offered to immigrant communities after decades of fighting for basic human rights.”

Last year, a federal judge in Texas ruled DACA illegal — although he agreed to leave the program intact for those who already benefit from it while his order is appealed.

The US Department of Justice has championed the program, allied with the state of New Jersey, advocacy organizations such as the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, and a coalition of dozens of powerful corporations – including Amazon, Apple, Google and Microsoft – who argue that DACA beneficiaries are “employees, consumers and job creators”.

Texas, joined by eight other Republican-leaning states, argues that DACA was enacted without going through proper legal and administrative procedures, including public notices and comment periods. Additionally, states claim they suffer financial harm by allowing immigrants to remain in the country illegally.

Proponents of DACA have argued that the program falls within the authority of the US Department of Homeland Security to prioritize enforcement. “DHS has limited resources,” argued Justice Department’s Brian Boynton. “He is incapable of deporting 11 million people in the country. He must decide who he is going to target first.

In court and in briefs, DACA supporters have argued that Texas reduced its claims of financial harm by waiting six years to challenge the program. They also said the state is ignoring evidence that DACA recipients reduce Texas costs because many of them work jobs with health insurance benefits, own homes and pay property taxes that support the schools.

Additionally, they claimed that Texas had not shown that DACA recipients would leave the state if the program was canceled. This point was met with skepticism by Judge James Ho, who noted that in a survey included with New Jersey’s legal arguments, more than 20% of DACA recipients said they were likely to leave if the program was abolished.

Boynton argued that the respondents’ answers were only speculative and proponents of the program, in short, questioned the survey methodology. But Ho again asked if the answers should be dismissed.

“It’s a question about, literally, your whole life,” Ho told Boynton. “That’s a question deep enough to be wrong.”

Judd Stone, advocating for the State of Texas, said the state has shown it is spending millions of dollars on DACA recipients and that ending the program will cause some of those who receive that money to leave the state. State. “There’s no evidence to show that either of those numbers equal zero,” Stone said.

In courtroom briefs and at press conferences in New Orleans and South Carolina on Wednesday, DACA supporters backed the argument that ending DACA would have devastating consequences for immigrants who don’t have known as the United States as their country of origin.

“I am a father of a 10-year-old child, so the cancellation of the DACA would put me in the uncertainty of not knowing if I will take my son to his next football game,” said Yahel Flores, a beneficiary of the DACA and the Carolinas state director of the American Business Immigration Coalition, told reporters on a Zoom call.

In a brief, DACA supporters said program recipients “are the parents of more than a quarter of a million U.S. citizens, and 70% of DACA recipients have an immediate family member who is a U.S. citizen.” .

DACA has faced numerous legal challenges since then-President Barack Obama created it by executive order in 2012. Former President Donald Trump decided to end the program. But a U.S. Supreme Court ruling determined it didn’t do it right, bringing it back to life and allowing new applications. This was followed by the trial led by Texas.

Chief Justice Priscilla Richman, appointed by President George W. Bush, was assigned to hear the 5th Circuit’s arguments; and two Trump appointees, Ho and Judge Kurt Engelhardt.

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Associated Press reporter James Pollard in Columbia, South Carolina, contributed to this report.

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The story corrected the name of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund.

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