Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh (D) announced Monday that his office has joined three other states in filing a lawsuit to stop the Trump administration from rolling back the Obama-era DACA program, which provides protections from deportation for undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children.
The suit, filed in federal court in the Northern District of California, alleges that the administration violated the due process provisions of the Constitution as well as federal laws.
The other states listed as plaintiffs are California, Maine and Minnesota.
Fifteen other states and the District of Columbia filed a similar lawsuit last week in the federal court in the Eastern District of New York to block the administration from winding down DACA, which stands for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.
The California lawsuit, backed by Gov. Jerry Brown (D), alleges that terminating DACA would reverse the federal government's promise not to use the information provided by participants of the program for deportations or prosecutions.
It also claims the administration bypassed a federal requirement that it give the public a chance to comment on rescinding DACA and that it analyze the impact that action could have on small businesses.
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said California's case is particularly strong because the state has the largest share of DACA recipients — 200,000 of the national total of 800,000.
Frosh, in an interview, made a moral and economic argument against rescinding DACA. He described the plan by the Trump administration as "grotesquely unfair and self-destructive," adding that it "violates every principle of fairness that we think our country stands for." Frosh said about 10,000 Marylanders participate in the DACA program, with most of them working, going to school or both.
Last week, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said the administration would end DACA in six months, giving Congress a brief window in which to rescue the program through a legislative fix. Sessions said that DACA recipients, known as "dreamers," take jobs away from U.S. citizens and that the program created a surge of illegal immigrants at the southern border.
The California lawsuit is the latest example of Frosh using new powers the state legislature granted his office this year to sue the federal government — without the governor's permission — over any efforts that are "harmful" to Marylanders.
The authority comes from the Maryland Defense Act, which was introduced after President Trump tried to impose a travel ban on refugees and visitors from seven majority-Muslim countries.
Since the measure took effect, Frosh has joined more than a half-dozen other lawsuits against the Trump administration. Among that list is a legal challenge to Trump's travel ban, another to block the administration from cutting off the federal government's cost-sharing subsidies for the Affordable Care Act, and another alleging that Trump violated the Constitution's anti-corruption clauses by accepting payments from foreign governments since becoming president.
"We have been able to step forward in a number of areas that I think are important to people in Maryland," he said. "Without the General Assembly's intervention, Maryland would be totally relegated to the sidelines on all these issues."
Frosh said he agrees with the DACA lawsuit in New York but couldn't join that complaint because he didn't have time to give the governor 10 days notice, as the Maryland Defense Act requires for any legal action against the federal government. He said the California lawsuit "takes nothing away from the one filed in New York last week."
A spokeswoman for Gov. Larry Hogan (R), declined to comment on the California lawsuit but noted that the governor "did not support the (Trump) administration's action" on DACA and that he "strongly believes that Congress needs to act" to resolve immigration issues.