Governor John Hickenlooper says Colorado will join 15 other states and Washington D.C. in a lawsuit that challenges President Trump’s decision to end Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).
The lawsuit is being led by New York, Washington and Massachusetts, in an effort to protect former-President Obama’s program that allowed 800,000 immigrants, who came to the U.S. illegally as children, to stay in the country.
Hickenlooper, a Democrat, said in a statement:
“President Trump’s decision to end the DACA program is outrageous and risks the futures of more than 17,000 Coloradans. Colorado benefits when DREAMers have the opportunity to thrive in our communities and the only country they’ve ever known. These young people should not have to suffer because of our broken immigration system. While this lawsuit is no substitute for the sort of comprehensive immigration reform that can only come from Congress, it sends a necessary message that the rule of law and basic notions of fairness still matter in this country. We urge Congress to immediately pass the Dream Act, ensuring that these young people can plan for their future here in the United States. We also repeat our call for Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform.”
According to USA Today, a 58-page complaint that was filed in a New York federal court last week says the President’s decision would disrupt economies and education systems. The suit also refers to Trump’s comments made at the start of his campaign, when he called Mexican immigrants “rapists," USA Today says; the states say this shows the president's actions were not done on the basis of political differences, but rather, discrimination.
Hickenlooper’s office said that State Attorney General Cynthia Coffman, a Republican, has chosen not to lead Colorado’s efforts. In this case, Hickenlooper is allowed designate special counsel to represent Colorado in the suit.
In a statement to Next, Coffman said she believes the issue belongs in Congress:
"Governor Hickenlooper has announced his intention to join the current litigation, State of New York, et al. v. Trump, filed in federal court in the Eastern District of New York by a group of Democrat Attorneys General from other states. In Colorado, my office has the independent authority to take legal action on behalf of the State when I believe doing so is in the State’s best interest. In this case, I do not. Nor do I support the legal arguments in the Democrats’ lawsuit.
No court ruling will provide a lasting solution to the significant policy and people issues surrounding DACA. This debate belongs in Congress where the public can have input, and must result in a clear direction forward for this country and those who wish to call it home.
The Governor also has authority to take legal action, and is exercising that authority to join his party’s litigation. I have approved a special assistant attorney general designation for the Governor’s Chief Legal Counsel to provide representation to the Governor on this matter."
The president gave Congress six months to figure out its own plan for DACA, before it officially expires. Both of Colorado's U.S. Senators, Democrat Michael Bennet and Republican Cory Gardner, said they're co-sponsoring Dream Act 2017, in response to Trump's decision.
Congressman Mike Coffman, a Republican, introduced a discharge petition to protect DACA. That has been shelved for now, since other members of Congress decided to make a plan for DACA on their own. Mike Coffman and Cynthia Coffman announced they're divorcing in June.