Three of Colorado’s top Democratic political leaders on Wednesday rallied on behalf of 17,000 immigrant children in the state who could face deportation because of possibly forthcoming legal challenges to an Obama-era immigration program.
“This is an economic issue for us,” said Lt. Gov. Donna Lynne. “It impacts all of us as citizens.”
Lynne joined U.S. Rep. Jared Polis and Denver Mayor Michael Hancock at a Denver news conference touting the contributions of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals recipients in Colorado, contending they contribute an estimated $857 million to the state’s annual gross domestic product.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, along with a group of other attorneys general, have threatened to press on with a lawsuit against the U.S. if DACA is not rescinded by the Trump administration by Sept. 5. The speakers on Wednesday say they fear U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions wouldn’t defend the program in court, effectively killing it.
In April, Trump said DACA recipients — who were brought to the U.S. unlawfully as kids — could “rest easy” because they were not targets for deportation, despite his campaign rhetoric to the contrary. So far the policy, created by former President Barack Obama in 2012, has not been changed.
In June, however, the Trump administration rescinded a similar Obama-era program that, had it been enacted, could have saved from deportation as many as 22,000 Denver-area parents living in the U.S. illegally. That stoked fears about DACA’s future.
“We’ll see if the president is true to his word in the coming weeks,” said Polis, who is working on federal legislation to protect DACA recipients.
Mayor Hancock, whose administration has been battling against federal immigration officials, said any steps to dismantle DACA would have a “detrimental impact on the city of Denver.”
“This DACA effort embodies everything this nation stands for,” he added. “And we as conscientious individuals must ask ourselves the question: Why would anyone target these vulnerable, hardworking, dedicated people in our cities across this nation?”