California Attorney General Xavier Becerra sued President Donald Trump in federal court in San Francisco on Monday to challenge his cancellation of a program that protected undocumented young people from deportation.
The Trump administration announced the phased-out termination of the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, last Tuesday.
The roughly 800,000 undocumented immigrants currently covered by the program will start losing the protection in six months, and no new applications are being accepted.
About 223,000 young people in the program live in California.
“One in every four DACA recipients lives and works in California, helping California become the sixth-largest economy in the world,” Becerra said at a news conference in Sacramento to announce the lawsuit.
“When the Trump administration canceled the program, it violated the Constitution as well as federal laws that require that the government treats everyone fairly,” he said.
Becerra’s lawsuit, filed on behalf of the people of California, follows similar lawsuits filed last week by 15 other states and the District of Columbia in federal court in New York and by the University of California in federal court in San Francisco.
He said that while the lawsuits are similar, California’s case “focuses on the causes of action in slightly different ways.”
“I’m doing what I think is best for the people of California. California will be impacted more than any other state,” Becerra said.
The DACA program was established through an executive order in 2012 by President Barack Obama.
In the phased termination of the program, 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. No other renewals will be allowed. Thus, deportations could begin on March 6.
A U.S. Department of Justice spokesperson was not immediately available for comment on the lawsuit.