NEW YORK – A federal judge in New York hearing two lawsuits challenging the cancellation of a program protecting some young immigrants from deportation accused President Donald Trump on Tuesday of making “vicious” anti-immigrant statements.
U.S. District Judge Nicholas Garaufis told Justice Department lawyers he could not ignore Trump’s “drumbeat” of statements and tweets about immigrants from Mexico and other countries.
“In this country, in over 230 years, this is not ordinary,” Garaufis said. “It’s extreme. It’s recurring. It’s vicious.”
Garaufis is hearing lawsuits seeking to overturn the administration’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
The plaintiffs say the decision to end the program was motivated by racial animus against Latinos.
Lawyers for the administration strongly deny the Republican president’s decision was motivated by hatred. They say the DACA program was legally flawed.
Trump has expressed sympathy for immigrants covered by the DACA program, and advocates hope it will be renewed as part an immigration deal negotiated between the White House and Congress.
A federal judge in San Francisco issued an order Jan. 9 keeping DACA in place, but the plaintiffs in the New York case say the California order does not cover people who became eligible to apply for the program after Trump acted to rescind it.
The plaintiffs in New York include several DACA recipients and a consortium of states including New York, Washington and Massachusetts.
New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said after the hearing that DACA is “a massive and successful program that they’re trying to shut down.”
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