Mayors, local officials ask Trump to defend DACA recipients

Mayors, local officials ask Trump to defend DACA recipients
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A group of mayors and county officials from around the country wrote to President Trump Tuesday, asking him to defend the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program from a potential court challenge led by Texas.

Under DACA, nearly 800,000 undocumented immigrants brought to the country as children received work permits and deferral from deportation.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) is leading a group of 10 states that have threatened to challenge the program in court unless the Trump administration rescinds it by Sept. 5.

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Cities for Action — a coalition of counties and cities representing more than 55 million residents — asked Trump in the letter to defend the program against the challenge.

Neither the White House nor the Justice Department have said whether the administration will defend the program if Paxton follows through on his threat.

In their letter, the coalition touted the economic benefits of the program and the importance of integrating recipients of DACA into the nation.

“You have singular power and influence to shape this moment in American history, and ‘show great heart’ — as well as pragmatism and economic sense — in your decision about how to protect our young, undocumented immigrants who have relied on the U.S. government’s word for security and stability,” read the letter to Trump.

Trump has said he supports DACA recipients but hasn’t said whether he believes in the legality of the program. In February, he said he would “show great heart” in finding a permanent solution for the group's migratory status.

Although different bills have been presented in Congress that would make permanent the benefits awarded to DACA recipients, the White House has refused to support any of those initiatives.

Still, the co-signers of the letter appealed to Trump's sense of pragmatism.

"DACA recipients are also taxpayers and integral to our economies. I stand with over 100 mayors and county officials across the country in calling on the President to continue and defend the DACA program — it’s the right thing to do, and it’s the smart thing to do,” said New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D).