The state will sue the federal government to prevent the end of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Attorney General Eric Schneiderman in a joint statement this weekend.
The joint statement came as President Donald Trump’s administration signaled it will end the DACA program, put in place to provide a safety net for so-called Dreamers, or undocumented immigrants who arrived in the U.S. as children.
Trump is expected to announce a six-month timeline for phasing out the program, potentially giving Congress time to weigh in on the issue.
“If he moves forward with this cruel action, New York State will sue to protect the ‘dreamers’ and the state’s sovereign interest in the fair and equal application of the law,” Cuomo said. “Ending this policy represents an assault on the values that built this state and this nation.”
The lawsuit threat would likely be part of a multi-state effort as other Democratic elected officials have threaten to sue over ending DACA.
“President Trump’s decision to end the DACA program would be cruel, gratuitous, and devastating to tens of thousands of New Yorkers -- and I will sue to protect them,” Schneiderman said. “Dreamers are Americans in every way.”
Schneiderman and Cuomo haven’t always gotten along over the years, though the governor has made a quiet peace with his successor in the attorney general’s office, a thaw that hasn’t transferred to his relationship with Comptroller Tom DiNapoli or New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (the mayor also threatened this weekend to challenge the end of DACA).
Schneiderman has positioned himself over the years as a long term pain in the neck for Trump even before the brash New York businessman was elected to the White House. Schneiderman drew Trump’s ire for his lawsuit over the practices of the for-profit Trump University.
In recent months, Schneiderman has filed legal challenges to the administration’s environmental policies as well as limits on immigration. Most recently, his office is reportedly working with White House special counsel Robert Mueller as part of an investigation into former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort.
Cuomo, meanwhile, has been increasingly critical of the president. When Trump was first elected, the Democratic governor trekked to Trump Tower, hoping to work with him on large-scale infrastructure projects.
But investing in large-scale public works efforts has largely fizzled on the federal level. At the same time, Democratic opposition to the rest of Trump’s agenda -- immigration included -- has been fierce.
Cuomo, who is seeking a third term next year, is considered a potential candidate for president in 2020.