The city and county of Los Angeles led a coalition of 65 local governments and four government advocacy organizations in an amicus brief to call on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit to overturn a July 2021 decision finding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, to be unlawful, City Attorney Mike Feuer announced Thursday.
The Obama-era DACA program allows some undocumented U.S. residents who were brought into the country as children to receive protection from deportation.
The amicus brief was filed Wednesday and argues that the U.S. District Court of Appeals for the Southern District of Texas’ decision threatens more than just recipients of the program, but their families, neighbors, coworkers, employers and local governments who benefit from the recipients’ contributions.
“I continue to proudly stand with DACA recipients and to advocate for all Dreamers — in Los Angeles and around the nation. As this incredible coast-to-coast coalition demonstrates, DACA recipients embody core American ideals of education, hard work and belief in a better tomorrow,” Feuer said.
“It’s worth noting that 30,000 DACA recipients work as health care professionals, according to the American Medical Association. These DACA recipients, like other health care heroes, are integral to our nation’s response to the pandemic.”
The Texas court’s 5-4 decision terminated the program for new applicants and threatened the status of the 600,000 current DACA recipients.
District Court Judge Andrew Hanen wrote in his decision that the program violates the Administrative Procedure Act, which governs federal agencies, by having not undergone the normal “notice and comment” process.
The amicus brief — a legal document that offers additional information or expertise and is filed by someone separate from the case — was filed by the coalition that includes the cities of Long Beach, Santa Monica and West Hollywood. The coalition also includes San Francisco, New York, Dallas, Houston, Chicago and Atlanta, as well as the government advocacy organizations the National League of Cities and the U.s. Conference of Mayors.
“Our Dreamers represent the very best of our country,” San Francisco City Attorney David Chiu said. “The DACA policy benefits everyone, allowing recipients to give back to their communities and enrich our local economies. This is exactly the type of policy we should be encouraging and supporting.”
The brief is co-led by the international law firm O’Melveny & Myers.
“With this amicus brief, the county of Los Angeles and the city of Los Angeles are leading the charge to protect DACA. We are proud to support the County of Los Angeles, along with all of the politically, socially, economically, and geographically diverse localities across the country that are united in their unwavering commitment to ensuring that Dreamers can continue to contribute to their communities and achieve their goals,” O’Melveny partner Daniel Suvor said.
Opponents argue that DACA encourages more illegal immigration and contributes to the surge of unaccompanied minors and families seeking to enter the United States illegally.