Colorado is suing the feds over the DACA repeal

Gov. John Hickenlooper announced Colorado will be joining the lawsuit led by New York, Massachusetts and Washington.

Governor John Hickenlooper speaks at a press conference on the possible repeal of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, known as DACA, Sept. 1, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

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Last week, 15 states announced they were suing the federal government over its decision to repeal the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which allowed immigrants brought to this country as children without proper authorization to work legally and avoid deportation.

Colorado wasn’t one of them, but on Wednesday, Gov. John Hickenlooper announced the state will be joining the lawsuit led by New York, Massachusetts and Washington.

The attorneys general in the states that originally filed the lawsuit are all Democrats, and Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman is a Republican. She also declined to join Republican AGs who threatened to sue the Trump administration if it didn’t repeal DACA.

A spokeswoman for Hickenlooper said Coffman’s office declined to represent the state in this lawsuit, and the governor’s office will be using special counsel, as it did in a lawsuit against the EPA for delaying the implementation of stricter methane rules. For now, the Governor’s Office of Legal Counsel will handle the lawsuit.

As the repeal of DACA loomed, immigrant advocates pressed Hickenlooper to take a tougher stand beyond the moral support he’s already lent.

Here’s Hickenlooper’s statement on the decision to join the lawsuit:

“President Trump’s decision to end the DACA program is outrageous and risks the futures of more than 17,000 Coloradans. Colorado benefits when DREAMers have the opportunity to thrive in our communities and the only country they’ve ever known. These young people should not have to suffer because of our broken immigration system. While this lawsuit is no substitute for the sort of comprehensive immigration reform that can only come from Congress, it sends a necessary message that the rule of law and basic notions of fairness still matter in this country. We urge Congress to immediately pass the Dream Act, ensuring that these young people can plan for their future here in the United States. We also repeat our call for Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform.”

Erica Meltzer

Author: Erica Meltzer

Erica Meltzer covers government and politics. She's worked for newspapers in Colorado, Arizona and Illinois and once won a First Amendment Award by showing up in the wrong place at the wrong time. She served in the Peace Corps in Paraguay and can swear fluently in Guarani. She gets emotional about public libraries. Contact Erica Meltzer at 303-502-2802, emeltzer@denverite.com or @meltzere.