Fifteen states and the District of Columbia filed a lawsuit in federal court Wednesday, aimed at blocking President Donald Trump's plan to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA.
The attorneys general who brought the DACA lawsuit argued that Trump's previous comments referring to Mexican immigrants as rapists, as well as his decision to pardon former Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio, should serve as indications of his bias.
"Ending DACA, whose participants are mostly of Mexican origin, is a culmination of President's Trump's oft-stated commitments — whether personally held, stated to appease some portion of his constituency, or some combination thereof — to punish and disparage people with Mexican roots," the lawsuit said.
In addition, the attorneys general emphasized that they believe the move was discriminatory.
A Department of Justice spokesman told CNN the department is ready to defend itself.
Rep. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) encouraged Congress to pass the Dream Act this month, saying that the DACA program protects children who have only known the U.S. as home.
"The reality of the situation is that these children basically have no other place to go other than America," Graham said. "And here's the good news for America is, you should want them to stay. They're great kids. They're working, they're productive."
He and Durbin said they aren't going to let children fall victim to the political process, and proposed a bipartisan fix to help those "Dreamers" who were covered by DACA.
"You've done nothing wrong," Graham said, referring to Dreamers. "You came here as children. You've contributed to society."
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders briefs the media Tuesday after the Trump administration rescinded the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Tuesday said President Trump made a "responsible" decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
"The president made the best decision in light of the fact that the system set up by the Obama administration was in clear violation of federal law," she said during a press briefing.
"The president was elected partly on his promise to enact meaningful immigration reform" Sanders added. "This is something that needs to be fixed legislatively."
"It's Congress' job to legislate. It's not the president's job to create law. I think that's something we all learned in eighth grade civics. It's pretty simple."
Sanders also said that Trump's decision to end the DACA program was "not an easy one," added he had "wrestled" with it extensively last weekend.
"[Trump] wants to make a decision with compassion but at the same time you can't make a judgment based on emotion," she said. "We need really big fixes."
Sanders then defended Trump from criticism that ending DACA was insensitive as it protects undocumented immigrants who entered the U.S. as minors.
"It is not cold-hearted for the president to uphold the law," she said. "We are a nation of law and order. If we stop becoming the nation we were envisioned to be, we throw away what makes us special."
Sanders also lashed out at Democrats for politicizing the issue of DACA and related immigration reform, taking aim at House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (CA).
"To me, the most heartless thing I've seen today is that Democrats like Nancy Pelosi are using this issue for fundraising," she said.
"If they would spend less time on fundraising and more time on focusing on solutions, we wouldn't even have this problem in the first place."
Sanders additionally criticized former President Barack Obama's implementation of DACA in 2012, noting he did so after "Congress explicitly rejected the proposal."
"This was deemed illegal by just about any legal expert in the country," she said.
Former Vice President Joe Biden, on Twitter, called the Trump administration's decision to rescind DACA "cruel."
President Trump on Tuesday defended his decision to eliminate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program before urging Congress to tackle major immigration reform following the move.
"Congress now has the opportunity to advance responsible immigration reform that puts American jobs and American security first," he said in a statement.
"We are facing the symptom of a larger problem, illegal immigration, along with the many other chronic immigration problems Washington has left unsolved," Trump added.
"As I've said before, we will resolve the DACA issue with heart and compassion - but through the lawful Democratic process - while at the same time ensuring that any immigration reform we adopt provides enduring benefits for the American citizens we were elected to serve. We must also have heart and compassion for unemployed, struggling, and forgotten Americans."
Students in Denver walked out in protest after DACA was rescinded.
Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C., was shut down after protesters who marched to Trump Hotel sat down in the street.
Javier Palomarez, president and CEO of the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, resigned from President Trump's National Diversity Coalition after Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced Tuesday that the administration is rescinding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
"This disgraceful action goes against not only the values of this country, but also against the promise of this administration to focus homeland security resources towards individuals who have committed violent crimes and pose a threat to communities across the country," Palomarez said in a statement.
Palomarez said that "rescinding the work permits of almost 800,000 people and forcing them into the shadows is reckless economic policy."
"The president misled our country by fabricating a position and making promise [sic], only to turn around and do the complete opposite," Palomarez said. "This administration's pro-growth agenda has sadly fallen to irrelevancy with the President's lack of leadership, constant distractions, and inability to unite the country."
Protesters gather outside Trump Tower in New York after the DACA announcement.
Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) called President Trump's decision to rescind DACA "the wrong approach to immigration."
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said "Democrats will do everything they can" to prevent the decision from becoming a reality.
DNC Chair Tom Perez said in a statement that President Trump "has secured his legacy as a champion for cruelty" with the decision to rescind DACA.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions addresses the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program from the Justice Department.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced Tuesday that the Trump administration is rescinding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
Sessions defended the decision as a response to the Obama administration's unilateral decision to implement the program.
He said the program created a humanitarian crisis on the southern border and took jobs from thousands of Americans.
Sessions pointed to the rule of law as a reason for the decision. He noted that because the nation does not have an open border policy, the country must set laws to determine who it can admit.
Sessions said that the Department of Justice has advised Homeland Security and President Trump to engage in a "wind down" of the DACA program.
The attorney general said the law must take care of the interests of the American people, and that the nation's immigration policy should reflect that. He said that if current laws are to be changed, Congress must do so.
Sessions noted that it is the job of the Department of Justice to serve all the American people, not just a subset.
Sessions didn't take any questions from reporters after making the announcement.
Protesters rally outside the White House in support of DACA.
DNC Chair Tom Perez speaks at the protest.
President Trump on Tuesday told Congress "get ready to do your job" in a tweet concerning the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
Trump's tweet comes the same day that his administration is expected to end DACA, which shields undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as minors and then lets them get work permits.
Politico reported Sunday that Trump would end DACA following a six-month delay, which would let Congress decide how to handle the program before its protections expire.
DACA has aided nearly 800,000 so-called "Dreamers" who were brought into the U.S. illegally as children and then sought its benefits.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Tuesday will conduct a press conference about the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, according to the Justice Department.
The department said in a statement Monday that Sessions will discuss the controversial immigration program at 11 a.m. local time Tuesday morning.
Sessions will speak on the topic from the agency’s headquarters in Washington, D.C, the statement added, and he will not take questions after Tuesday’s briefing.
The White House has previously said a formal announcement about the initiative’s future would come Tuesday.
President Trump has spent recent months debating the merits of DACA, which began in 2012 under former President Barack Obama.
DACA temporarily blocks the deportation of undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as minors and then sought work permits.
The permits are renewable every two years, and DACA has since benefited nearly 800,000 people who were brought into America illegally as children.
Critics have argued that Obama exceeded his presidential powers by implementing the program.
Advocates have countered, meanwhile, that those undocumented immigrants who entered the U.S. as children typically had no say in the matter and have since grown to call it home.
Reuters on Monday reported that New York and Washington have pledged to sue Trump’s administration should he kill DACA.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) and New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman (D) on Monday issued a joint statement justifying their opposition to gutting DACA.
“The president’s action would upend the lives of hundreds of thousands of young people who have only ever called America their home,” they said.
“I will use all the legal tools at my disposal to defend the thousands of Dreamers in Washington state,” Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson (D) said in his own statement.
Politico reported Sunday that Trump has opted to end DACA after a six-month delay aimed at giving Congress time to solve the issue before the program’s protections expire.
“Dreamers” are those who DACA currently shields from deportation, and they are reportedly a fraction of America’s estimated 11 million illegal immigrants.