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Hickenlooper: Colorado to join multi-state lawsuit to preserve 'Dreamers' program

September 13, 2017 Updated: September 14, 2017 at 6:29 am
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Holding the signs from left Miguel Alvarez, Aarahon Valdovines, and Alejandro Carnero all students of Mitchell High School show up in support of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) at Acacia Park on Tuesday September 5, 2017 in Colorado Springs. (Photo by Dougal Brownlie, The Gazette).

Colorado will join New York, Washington and Massachusetts in a multi-state lawsuit challenging President Donald Trump's plan to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, Gov. John Hickenlooper's office announced Wednesday.

"President Trump's decision to end the DACA program is outrageous and risks the futures of more than 17,000 Coloradans," Hickenlooper said in a statement. "Colorado benefits when DREAMers have the opportunity to thrive in our communities and the only country they've ever known."

Congress still must comprehensively reform immigration, said Hickenlooper, who urged Congress to immediately pass the Dream Act.

The lawsuit, however, "sends a necessary message that the rule of law and basic notions of fairness still matter in this country."

Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman's office will not represent the state on the matter because doing so is not "in the state's best interest," Coffman said Wednesday in a statement provided to Colorado Politics.

"No court ruling will provide a lasting solution to the significant policy and people issues surrounding DACA," she said in the statement. "This debate belongs in Congress, where the public can have input, and must result in a clear direction forward for this country and those who wish to call it home."

The governor's office of legal counsel will act as special assistant attorney general and represent the state, though outside support could be brought in if necessary, said Jacque Montgomery, Hickenlooper's spokeswoman.

Lt. Gov. Donna Lynne, who last week entered the Democratic field of gubernatorial candidates, issued a statement Wednesday expressing her support for the move.

"It is beyond debate that our immigration system is in need of dramatic reforms that are supported by both Republicans and Democrats, but deporting young people who call the United States their home is harmful and dangerous," Lynne said in a statement. "DACA recipients contribute to our economy, strengthen our communities, and make our state better - President Trump's clear disregard for these young people is nothing short of hatred and racism."

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