Over a hundred years ago, our organization, the NAACP, was established in defense of colored people in these United States. True to our name and longstanding mission, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People a century later still stands—steadfast and immovable—now fighting for the civil rights of individuals and families impacted by the illegal recension of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA.
The America of today is a proud nation of immigrants. None of us is an indigenous people. Respectful of this legacy of diversity, the NAACP filed a lawsuit this afternoon against President Donald J. Trump, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Department of Homeland Security. Our purpose for taking this pivotal step is to prevent the Trump Administration from dishonoring our government’s promise of ensuring the American dream for all children—including immigrant children.
We are pressing this lawsuit not just on behalf of children and young people of color who’ve emerged to become positive, upstanding and valued members of our community, but also in defense of our members, many of which include DACA registrants from all across the nation. We’re additionally stepping forward to protect the hundreds of thousands of African, Caribbean and Mexican immigrants who’ve been impacted by the unlawful recent termination of the DACA program, and we intend to prevent Trump from implementing the full implications of its rescission.
“We’re additionally stepping forward to protect the hundreds of thousands of African, Caribbean and Mexican immigrants who’ve been impacted by the unlawful recent termination of the DACA program, and we intend to prevent Trump from implementing the full implications of its rescission.” —Derrick Johnson, NAACP
Specifically, the NAACP contends that the defendants unlawfully defaulted on America’s commitment to protect young, undocumented immigrants of color living in the United States, and more significantly that the 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. There are some 800,000 DACA recipients across the country, and even more who would have been eligible for the program were it not unconstitutionally cancelled.
The termination of DACA severely impacts people of color. Most DACA registrants and those eligible for it are ethnic minorities, and according to figures cited by the Migration Policy institute, roughly 36,000 immigrants of African origin were immediately eligible for the DACA program. The report denotes that over 20,000 youth from the Caribbean nations of the Dominican Republic and Jamaica are eligible for DACA, while over 80 percent of registrants are of Mexican lineage.
During his campaign for the nation’s highest office, President Trump publicly stated that immigrants of color—particularly those of Mexican origin—were ‘criminals,’ ‘rapists’ and ‘thugs.’ And, that ‘when Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best…they’re sending people that have lots of problems.’ This indicates that his administration’s cancellation of DACA not only violates the Equal Protection Clause, but also that it’s racially-motivated in part.
Trump’s vile, prejudiced sentiment could not be farther from the truth.
Immigrants, and DACA registrants are law-abiding, taxpaying contributors to society, and ejecting them out of the only country they’ve ever known is not the American Way. It serves only to dramatically disrupt the lives of hard working people as quickly as possible without regard to consequences. Of a surety, this is largely an issue that affects our Hispanic and Latino-American brothers and sisters, but we cannot, and will not forget the 500,000-to-600,000 thousand equally affected black, African and Afri-Caribbean undocumented immigrants in America—most notably the tens of thousands who were eligible for DACA.
As the nation’s legacy civil rights group, we at the NAACP remain resolved to eliminate the impact of White supremacy from every aspect of life in United States. We welcome all to join us in this important work.
Derrick Johnson is interim president and CEO of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. Follow him @DJohnsonMSNAACP, and @NAACP.