The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

NAACP Files Lawsuit in Defense of DACA Eligible People of Color

Cancellation Impacts Thousands of African and Caribbean Origins


The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the country's original civil rights organization, today filed a lawsuit against President Trump, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Homeland Secretary Elaine Duke, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Department of Homeland Security, in defense of people of color eligible for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).

There are approximately 800,000 DACA recipients across the country, and more that would have been eligible for the program had it not been unnecessarily and unconstitutionally cancelled. The vast majority of DACA registrants and those eligible for DACA are people of color. More than 80% of registrants are of Mexican origin according to The Migration Policy Institute. Additionally, about 36,000 immigrants of African origin and over 20,000 youth from Caribbean nations of the Dominican Republic and Jamaica were also eligible for DACA.

"This tells us that cancelling the DACA program not only violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fifth Amendment but also possesses a racially-motivated component," said Derrick Johnson, interim President and CEO of the NAACP. "Defendant Trump's nasty, prejudiced sentiment couldn't be further from the truth. Immigrants and DACA registrants have been positive members of society; they contribute to community; they open businesses; they pay taxes and they are generally law abiding. Kicking DACA registrants and eligible people out of the country and upending their lives is not the American Way."

"This suit seeks to stop the Trump Administration from reneging on the government's promise to share the American dream with immigrant children who have become productive, valued members of our community," said Joseph M. Sellers, Partner at Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll, PLLC, which is representing the NAACP in today's filing. "Ending the DACA program is neither right nor lawful. Given the unstable political climate, our clients and the other Dreamers need to know now that their education and livelihood can continue here, free from the looming threat of deportation."

"NAACP, whose membership includes DACA registrants across the United States, is filing this lawsuit to protect the hundreds of thousands of Mexican, Caribbean and African immigrants who have been affected by the unlawful termination of the DACA program. Our goal is to prevent the Trump Administration from implementing the full implications of rescinding the DACA program," said NAACP's Deputy General Counsel Janette M. Louard.

The NAACP alleges that the defendants unlawfully reneged on their promise to protect young, undocumented immigrants of color living in the United States. Furthermore, the NAACP alleges that the Trump Administration violated the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment, the Equal Protection Clause of the Fifth Amendment, the Administrative Procedure Act and the Regulatory Flexibility Act.

Read the full lawsuit here

Founded Feb. 12. 1909, the NAACP is the nation's oldest, largest and most widely recognized grassroots-based civil rights organization. Its more than half-million members and supporters throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities, conducting voter mobilization and monitoring equal opportunity in the public and private sectors.