The city of San Jose sued President Donald Trump in federal court Thursday to challenge his cancellation of deportation protections for young immigrants, alleging that the city itself has suffered “concrete and specific injury” through harm to some of its workers.
San Jose is the first city in the nation to sue over Trump’s Sept. 5 decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, Mayor Sam Liccardo said at a news conference.
Other lawsuits have been filed by California and three other states and by the University of California in federal court in San Francisco in the past week. Fifteen other states and the District of Columbia sued in federal court in New York.
San Jose’s lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in San Jose, claims Trump’s action hurts the city because it will lose valuable employees who are DACA recipients. The city has also already had to deal with a loss of productivity and morale by workers “who face a future of uncertainty and fear,” the lawsuit claims.
“Those DACA recipients include public servants in our own City Hall, providing public safety and other critical services to our community.”
The mayor added:
“The decision is imperiling the ability of these city employees to lawfully continue to serve our community in critical functions. Our city residents directly suffer because they lose critical services at a time where we are already stretched thin with hundreds of vacancies at City Hall.”
The DACA program, which now covers 800,000 people, including 223,000 in California, was established through an executive order by President Barack Obama in 2012.
It enabled undocumented immigrants who arrived in the U.S. as children to apply for deferment of deportation and work authorization, renewable every two years. The DACA recipients are sometimes known as Dreamers.
Under the phased termination announced by the Trump administration, no new applications will be accepted.
Current recipients can retain their deferred action period and work authorization documents until they reach their two-year expiration date.
Those whose documents expire before March 6 can apply for a two-year renewal. Thus, deportations could begin on March 6.
The city’s lawsuit and the other federal cases could be made moot if Congress decides to enact the DACA program into law. This week, Trump and Democratic congressional leaders have said that discussions are underway on a plan for such a law.
But San Jose City Attorney Rick Doyle cautioned at the news conference:
“We can’t wait for Congress to act because as indicated last night, do we have a deal or don’t we have a deal? … We don’t know until the votes are cast and the bill is signed. There is no guarantee of any legislation or protection, so we have to come to the courts to seek protection for our folks.”
San Jose’s lawsuit, like the others filed thus far, claims Trump’s action violates both the U.S. Constitution and a federal law on administrative procedure.
It alleges the program cancellation violates the constitutional Fifth Amendment guarantee of equal treatment by targeting individuals for discriminatory treatment on the basis of their national origin.
It claims the Trump administration failed to comply with the Administrative Procedures Act’s requirements for a rule-making process that includes public notice and an opportunity for public comment.
Like the other suits, it seeks a court order prohibiting the Trump administration from canceling the program or deporting DACA recipients.
In addition to Trump, Acting Homeland Security Department Secretary Elaine Duke is named as a defendant.
A U.S. Department of Justice spokesman was not immediately available for comment.
Earlier this week, spokesman Devin O’Malley said in response to California’s lawsuit:
“It was the previous administration’s arbitrary circumvention of Congress that got us to this point. … The Department of Justice looks forward to defending this administration’s position and restoring respect for the rule of law.”