PHOENIX – Attorney General Kris Mayes today joined a coalition of 22 attorneys general, led by California and New York, in an amicus brief pushing back against the ongoing, misguided effort led by Texas to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. In the friend-of-the-court brief filed before the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, the coalition reiterates the critical importance of DACA for states across the country and the hundreds of thousands of Dreamers and their families who depend on the program, including the more than 30,700 Arizonans who have directly benefitted from DACA.
“Dreamers enrich our state and our nation with their talents, dedication, and hard work,” said Attorney General Kris Mayes. “Tens of thousands of young immigrants have made Arizona their home because DACA protections have allowed them to build their lives here, and our state is better because of it. Attempts to strip away these protections by abruptly ending DACA are misguided, irresponsible, and just plain wrong.”
DACA has allowed recipients to live, study, and work across the United States free from the fear of being forcibly separated from their families and communities. Since 2012, more than 825,0000 young immigrants have been granted DACA protections after completing applications and passing a background check. Dreamers come from almost every country in the world, but many have never known any home other than the United States. The program has enabled hundreds of thousands of grantees to enroll in colleges and universities; start businesses that help improve our economy; serve in the military; and give back to our communities as teachers, medical professionals, engineers, and entrepreneurs. These contributions became even more evident during the COVID-19 pandemic as tens of thousands of DACA recipients continued to serve their communities as essential workers and frontline healthcare professionals.
DACA plays a vital role in supporting our economies at the national, state, and local level. DACA recipients and their households are estimated to contribute approximately $9.5 billion in federal, state, and local taxes each year. A full rollback of DACA — as being pushed for by Texas and its allies — is projected to result in a loss of an estimated $280 billion in national economic growth over the course of a decade. It would also lead to an estimated loss of $33.1 billion in Social Security contributions and $7.7 billion in Medicare contributions — funds that are critical to ensuring the financial health of these national programs upon which people across the country rely. In addition, the spending power of DACA recipients — estimated at $25.3 billion annually — also contributes substantially to the overall economic health of the nation. DACA recipients own homes, make mortgage payments, own small businesses, and help support the creation of new jobs.
In the amicus brief, the coalition reiterates that:
- DACA recipients are vital to amici states’ communities, public universities, and economies;
- DACA enhances public safety and reduces the strain on social safety net programs;
- Amici states have structured their laws and regulations in reliance on DACA and the benefits it confers;
- Abrupt termination of DACA would disrupt and harm DACA recipients and amici states; and
- Any remedy in this case must account for the significant reasonable reliance interests of DACA recipients and their states and communities.
In filing the amicus brief, Attorney General Mayes joins the attorneys general of California, New York, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Washington, and Wisconsin.