Press Release

NAACP Files Lawsuit in Defense of DACA Eligible People of Color

September 18, 2017

Cancellation Impacts Thousands of African and Caribbean Origins

BALTIMORE (September 18, 2017) – The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the country’s original civil rights organization, today filed a lawsuit against President Trump, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Homeland Secretary Elaine Duke, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Department of Homeland Security, in defense of people of color eligible for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).

There are approximately 800,000 DACA recipients across the country, and more that would have been eligible for the program had it not been unnecessarily and unconstitutionally cancelled. The vast majority of DACA registrants and those eligible for DACA are people of color. More than 80% of registrants are of Mexican origin, according to the Migration Policy Institute; about 36,000 immigrants of African origin were also immediately eligible for the DACA program. Additionally, the report shows that over 20,000 youth from Caribbean nations of the Dominican Republic and Jamaica are eligible for DACA.

“By establishing DACA, the United States made a promise to protect its most vulnerable residents—young, undocumented immigrants, who are overwhelmingly people of color. In exchange for providing the government with extensive information about themselves and their families, these young immigrants received this country’s assurance that they could build lives for themselves in the United States without fear of prosecution or deportation,” said Derrick Johnson, interim President and CEO of the NAACP. “Now, President Trump has reneged on that promise. By rescinding DACA, President Trump puts hundreds of thousands of lives and livelihoods at risk. Immigrants and DACA registrants have been positive members of society; they contribute to community; they open businesses; they pay taxes and they are generally law abiding. But Instead of celebrating their contributions, President Trump is kicking DACA registrants and eligible people out of the country and upending their lives. This is not the American Way.”

“This suit seeks to stop the Trump Administration from reneging on the government’s promise to share the American dream with immigrant children who have become productive, valued members of our community,” said Joseph M. Sellers, Partner at Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll, PLLC, which is representing the NAACP in today’s filing. “Ending the DACA program is neither right nor lawful. Given the unstable political climate, our clients and the other Dreamers need to know now that their education and livelihood can continue here, free from the looming threat of deportation.”


“NAACP, whose membership includes DACA registrants across the United States, is filing this lawsuit to protect the hundreds of thousands of Mexican, Caribbean and African immigrants who have been affected by the unlawful termination of the DACA program. Our goal is to prevent the Trump Administration from implementing the full implications of rescinding the DACA program,” said NAACP’s Deputy General Counsel Janette M. Louard.


The NAACP alleges that the defendants unlawfully reneged on their promise to protect young, undocumented immigrants of color living in the United States. Furthermore, the NAACP alleges that the Trump Administration violated the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment, the Equal Protection Clause of the Fifth Amendment, the Administrative Procedure Act and the Regulatory Flexibility Act.

Read the full lawsuit here