Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser on Thursday announced that he is joining other states in a lawsuit against the Trump administration seeking to uphold an Obama-era program granting deportation protections to young immigrants.
The Democrat’s move to protect the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program is his latest in a list of legal challenges aimed at the White House. Since taking office in January, Weiser has sued over a number of issues, most recently to stop the Trump administration from expanding birth control exemptions under the Affordable Care Act.
Earlier this month, Weiser and Gov. Jared Polis sued President Donald Trump’s Justice Department over grant funding it withheld because Colorado refused to comply with certain immigration enforcement provisions.
“Our nation is stronger because of our welcoming attitude toward immigrants who come here to share their talents, work hard, and benefit from our freedoms and economic opportunity,” Weiser said in a statement Thursday.
Trump in 2017 unwound DACA, prompting states to sue to protect the program and making the initiative a political hot potato in Congress. It has not been rescinded because of those court challenges.
Weiser’s predecessor, Republican Cynthia Coffman, declined to join the multi-state lawsuit against the Trump administration to uphold DACA, saying the policy would be better sorted out by Congress. Gov. John Hickenlooper, however, went around her to join the legal action, using outside counsel.
Weiser is signing onto the lawsuit Hickenlooper already joined, according to the Colorado Attorney General’s Office.
The difference now: Instead of counsel outside of the Colorado Department of Law representing the state, Weiser and his team will take over.
“With this decision, Colorado is now represented by its attorney general in this action and will have the full support of the Department of Law to uphold justice and opportunity for immigrants brought here as children,” the attorney general’s office said in a statement.
There are an estimated 17,000 people living in Colorado with DACA protections.
Updated at 8 a.m. on Friday, March 22, 2019: This story has been updated with comments from the Colorado Attorney General’s Office about how Attorney General Phil Weiser’s decision to sue to protect DACA differs from the legal action taken by former Gov. John Hickenlooper earlier.