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County of Santa Clara Prevails in Supreme Court Litigation Challenging the Termination of DACA

 

SANTA CLARA COUNTY, CALIF.— The County of Santa Clara applauds the United States Supreme Court’s historic decision today, ruling that the Trump Administration acted unlawfully in terminating the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. The decision is a significant victory for the County, which sued in 2017 to challenge the Trump Administration’s unlawful repeal and to protect hundreds of thousands of deserving DACA recipients across the country.

“Today’s Supreme Court decision is a victory for all Americans and a repudiation of the Trump Administration’s heartless, anti-immigrant policies,” said Santa Clara County Counsel James R. Williams. “We challenged the DACA repeal to vindicate the rights of hardworking young immigrants to pursue their dreams and contribute to the only country they have ever called home—including, now, in critical roles as frontline workers in the fight against COVID-19. Under today’s decision, these hardworking young immigrants, including thousands of Santa Clara County residents, can continue to live, study, and work without fear.”

“The County has always been committed to protecting and supporting DACA recipients and celebrates this important decision alongside our country’s 1.7 million DACA-eligible DREAMers,” said Miguel Márquez, Chief Operating Officer for the County of Santa Clara. “They are a vital part of our community who strengthen our nation with their stories of resilience and success.”​

Back in October 2017, the County of Santa Clara and SEIU Local 521 presented a lawsuit that was the first in the nation to be brought jointly by an employer and affected workers in response to the Trump Administration’s cancellation of the DACA program. The County lawfully employs DACA recipients in important roles, and many of these employees provide critical services to our community. SEIU Local 521 President, Riko Méndez, weighed in on today’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling:

“Today’s decision by the Supreme Court to uphold and protect DACA reflects the tireless organizing efforts by DREAMers and the commitment of their families, allies and communities. DACA recipients — many of whom have fought diligently as essential workers — are the front lines of public services during and after the coronavirus pandemic, making America a better place. DREAMers are doctors, teachers, community health workers, janitors, homecare providers, and so much more. SEIU Local 521 takes tremendous pride in our joint role with the County of Santa Clara and others in challenging the Trump Administration’s capricious attempt to rescind the DACA program.” 

DREAMers’ Local and National Contribution

The contribution of DACA recipients, while always valuable to our country, is especially vital during a global pandemic and a period of economic insecurity. Nationally, over 200,000 DACA recipients are working in essential roles, including an estimated 30,000 who are healthcare workers providing critical services during this challenging time. The nearly 650,000 DACA recipients in the United States are deeply rooted community members whose fiscal and economic contributions are felt broadly, according to the Center for American Progress. Across the country, 1.5 million individuals live in households with DACA recipients, including 250,000 U.S.-born children. Each year, DACA recipients and their households contribute $5.6 billion in federal taxes and $3.1 billion in state and local taxes.

In Santa Clara County, close to 14,000 individuals were immediately eligible for DACA in 2016, and as many as 50,000 are in the age category that would make them eligible if other criteria are met, according to the Migration Policy Institute. Our local DREAMers and DACA recipients are engaged community members who continue to provide invaluable contributions as students, social workers, medical doctors, scholars, teachers, college educators, researchers, and in many other professions. 

“From a very early age, I had big plans for my future, but I lived with a constant battle within myself, wondering how far I would actually be able to go as an undocumented person. DACA opened so many doors for me. I felt seen; I no longer had to hide my identity. It still feels like a dream that I (the daughter of immigrant parents with an elementary school education) can study and excel at a prestigious school. My plan is to become a lawyer.” -- Cesia, local DACA recipient

“I have had DACA since President Obama authorized it in 2012. This program was a big win and I finally felt like I was able to have a bright future ahead. I have become a voice both for my community and for myself. I’ve been able to get an education I never thought possible. We contribute so much, and we work so hard. Like anyone in this country who is a citizen, we have worked for it. We are more than how we are treated. We are much bigger than an immigration status.” -- Lizeth, local DACA recipient

Resources for DACA Recipients

The County of Santa Clara provides resources to support DACA recipients, and recognize the great assets that they have weaved into the fabric of our society. The County’s Office of Immigrant Relations has worked with other County departments, community-based organizations (CBOs) and educational institutions to provide a wide array of resources to DACA recipients and their families, including legal services. Additionally, the County of Santa Clara has provided funding to CBOs to cover the application fees for those who could not afford to pay for their DACA renewal. Since 2017, the Office of Immigrant Relations has hosted and coordinated the New Americans Fellowship (NAF) program, tailored towards DACA recipients. This program is a leadership pipeline that provides career development, research experience, and exposure to local government operations, as fellows get placed in various County departments to gain transferable, professional skills and offer their unique perspectives.

For more information on resources, visit https://www.sccgov.org/sites/oir/Pages/daca.aspx.

ABOUT THE COUNTY OF SANTA CLARA, CALIFORNIA

The County of Santa Clara government serves a diverse, multi-cultural population of 1.9 million residents in Santa Clara County, California, making it more populous than 14 states in the U.S. The County provides essential services to its residents, including public health protection, environmental stewardship, medical services through the County of Santa Clara Health System, child and adult protection services, homelessness prevention and solutions, roads, park services, libraries, emergency response to disasters, protection of minority communities and those under threat, access to a fair criminal justice system, and many other public benefits.

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Media Contact: María Leticia Gómez / Quan Vu, Office of Communications and Public Affairs, (408) 299-5119. ​​​Mike González, Office Immigrant Relations, (408) 678-2302, (669) 250-8168, mike.gonzalez@ceo.sccgov.org​

Posted: June 18, 2020​​

Last updated: 6/18/2020 3:29 PM