A Brooklyn federal judge said in court on Tuesday that he cannot make a decision regarding the status of young undocumented immigrants in the country on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program without considering President Donald Trump’s “incendiary” anti-Latino comments.
“The statements that were made during the election cycle were extremely volatile,” said Judge Nicholas Garaufis in court, referring to Trump’s recurring comments that had painted Latinos with a broad negative brush.
“This came from the top. This isn’t ordinary,” Garaufis added while DACA recipients in the audience nodded. “It’s not what we see from our leaders, I hope.”
New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman appeared in court, leading 16 other attorneys general motioning for a temporary injunction to stop the termination of DACA. The program is quickly approaching a March 5 deadline to cease after Trump called for its “orderly wind down” on Sept. 5, 2017.
A representative from Schneiderman’s office, Lourdes Rosado argued that the decision to end the program was fueled with bias, partly based on the many anti-immigrant and specifically Latino comments from the president. Of the 689,800 active recipients, known as “Dreamers,” roughly 94 percent are Latino.
When government lawyer Stephen Pezzi argued against the comments being used for consideration, Garaufis asked how he could decide by not taking into account the words by “the man who sits in the oval office.”
The plaintiffs, who are also made up of numerous Dreamers, called for the injunction because the possibly temporary injunction ruled by Judge William Alsup in California on Jan. 9 was not enough to protect all Dreamers.
“There are New Yorkers that are left out of the injunction record in California,” Schneiderman said outside the court. “No one has raised any argument that the Dreamers should not be allowed to stay here. These are people who work and play by the rules.”
Rosado argued that the rescinding of DACA would negatively impact New York, as its recipients combine to a large number of workers that contribute to the state economy.
Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is among 17 attorneys general motioning for an injunction to halt the termination of DACA. Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is among 17 attorneys general motioning for an injunction to halt the termination of DACA.
In addition to the injunction, the government proposed dismissing the case, which is likely to go to the U.S. Court of Appeals 2nd Circuit. Part of their argument alluded to Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ remarks that the program was unlawfully implemented.
Garaufis had a message for Sessions too.
“He seems to think the courts cannot have an opinion because he ruled,” Garaufis said about Sessions. “He’s not here is he? It’s better that he’s not.”
The judge did not yet deliver any decisions on Tuesday.
Dreamers have had a tumultuous past year, beginning with the tension pressed upon them from the election of President Trump with his hard-stance politics on illegal immigration.
Then roughly seven months into his presidency, he called for an end to the Obama-era immigration program unless Congress could work out a permanent solution.
Negotiations on the issue are now presented as a tipping point for the federal government’s spending plan, which lack of compromise on led to the Jan. 20 government shutdown.
Hon. Nicholas Garaufis. Photo courtesy of EDNY/Douglas PalmerHon. Nicholas Garaufis. Photo courtesy of EDNY/Douglas Palmer
Dreamers were among crowds of protesters who marched on Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer’s Prospect Park West home after Democrats were unable to keep the government closed over the immigration argument.
The government is currently being funded through Feb. 8 in exchange for a promise from Republican leaders to address Dreamers’ future, but President Donald Trump has presented an ultimatum of approval of his $25 billion U.S. Mexico border wall.
“We cannot wait for Congress. We need the court, the courts to come out with a solution for us Dreamers,” Martin Batalla Vidal, a Dreamer and plaintiff said before pausing to cry. “We’ve been here all our lives. Going back to our country is going back to a country we don’t know.”