North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein joined 15 other state attorneys general in filing a lawsuit to protect Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals grantees on Wednesday.
This lawsuit comes on the heels of the Donald Trump administration’s announcement to end DACA Tuesday.
The suit said the Trump administration’s actions to end DACA are illegal.
Stein said in a statement the Trump Administration’s actions on DACA violate the Equal Protection and Due Process clauses of the Constitution by discriminating against recipients of Mexican origin in addition to harming North Carolina’s economy and institutions.
“(DACA) is a program that has protected from deportation approximately 800,000 young people who grew up in this country, most of whom have known no other home than the United States,” the lawsuit said.
The lawsuit said the government action to end DACA will harm North Carolina’s institutions and economy, as well as its sovereign and proprietary interests.
“Ending DACA isn’t just cruel to Dreamers, against our American values and the wrong thing to do for our nation’s economy, it also violates our Constitution,” the statement said. “I will do everything in my power to restore DACA for the tens of thousands of young people in North Carolina who rely on it – including fighting for them in court.”
The Institute on Economic and Taxation Policy found in a study 87 percent of DACA recipients nationwide are employed. The study said continuing the program and extending its enrollment to all persons eligible would increase state and local tax revenues by $425 million.
Studies estimate that between 50 and 75 percent of all undocumented immigrants file federal income taxes. DACA recipients are required to pay personal income taxes using a temporary social security number, according to the Institute on Economic and Taxation Policy.
Of the 800,000 DACA recipients in the United States, 27,000 currently reside in North Carolina, according to Stein's statement. In North Carolina, DACA recipients pay over $63 million annually in state and local taxes.
The government's decision to withdraw from the DACA program deeply disappointed and saddened UNC administration, a message from university leadership said.
UNC Chancellor Carol Folt joined other university leaders Tuesday in signing the Association of American Universities letter to Congress advocating for a permanent solution for undocumented students, which would allow them to continue school and eventually pursue a path to citizenship.
In the past, UNC has supported congressional action to provide undocumented college students with a pathway to citizenship as illustrated by the University's continuous support for the DREAM Act.
Chancellor Folt showed UNC’s support for students protected by DACA by signing a letter to Congress with over 400 other college presidents last year.
Data on how many DACA recipients attend UNC is unavailable, according to the University's media relations team.
Folt also issued a statement in support of DACA recipients in the UNC community.
“This change in federal policy is contrary to our own and Carolina’s heartfelt commitment to all members of our community, and it opens questions and concerns for students, their families, friends and others," the statement said. "While we are uncertain about the effects of yesterday’s decision, we remain fully committed to welcoming and supporting students enrolled in this program.”
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