Berkshire District Attorney Joins Law Enforcement Leaders in Defense of DACA
104 current and former prosecutors, law enforcement leaders, and Department of Justice officials from 34 states and the District of Columbia filed an amicus brief in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals defending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
The brief, authored by Georgetown Law’s Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection (ICAP) and coordinated with Fair and Just Prosecution, argues that DACA promotes public safety by allowing DACA recipients to step out of the shadows, obtain valid identification and work cooperatively with police and prosecutors without fear of adverse immigration consequences.
“No one should be fearful of reporting a crime to law enforcement. My office has made great strides in building trust with the immigrant community. We do not cooperate with ICE, I routinely support U-Visa applications, and we’ve expanded our capacity to bridge language barriers. DACA is another tool that helps undocumented immigrants feel more comfortable reporting and cooperating with law enforcement to hold perpetrators of violent crime accountable,” District Attorney Andrea Harrington said. “I am proud to join law enforcement leaders from throughout the country to advocate for a program that supports and protects all members of our community.”
Established in 2012, DACA offers protection against deportation for more than 600,000 individuals who were brought to the United States as children and meet a stringent set of requirements. In July 2021, a federal district court in Texas ruled that the creation of DACA and its continued operation violate the Administrative Procedure Act (APA). The Fifth Circuit is reviewing the case on appeal.
“DACA benefits everyone who cares about creating safer neighborhoods,” said Mary McCord, Executive Director at ICAP and a former federal prosecutor for over 20 years. “As current and former law enforcement leaders, our goal is to reduce barriers for people to engage with law enforcement. Eliminating DACA would have the opposite effect.”
"DACA protects hundreds of thousands of individuals who were brought here as children and who have built their lives here, enhancing the richness and diversity of our country," said Miriam Krinsky, Executive Director of Fair and Just Prosecution, which helped coordinate the amicus effort. "Ending DACA would not only devastate these individuals and their families but would also impact all of us by undermining trust in law enforcement and eroding public safety. That's why more and more elected prosecutors and law enforcement leaders are speaking out in support of DACA. They know firsthand how much immigrants contribute to our communities and how the DACA program is essential to promoting safety and justice for all."
The signatories emphasize how ending DACA would endanger public safety: “When community residents live in constant fear that interactions with local law enforcement officials could result in removal, that fundamental breakdown in trust threatens public safety and impedes justice system leaders from doing their jobs.”
ICAP’s amicus brief in the Fifth Circuit is similar to one it filed in the Supreme Court that was signed by more than 80 law enforcement officials when the Court considered a challenge to the Trump Administration’s efforts to rescind DACA in 2019. In that case, DHS v. Regents of the University of California, the Supreme Court held that the decision to rescind DACA was arbitrary and capricious under the APA