Lake County State’s Attorney Eric Rinehart joined over 100 current and former prosecutors and law enforcement leaders in filing a brief in federal court defending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
In July, a federal district court in Texas ruled that DACA and its continued operation violate the Administrative Procedure Act, halting new applications to the program.
The U.S Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit Court is reviewing the case after the U.S. Department of Justice filed an appeal.
DACA was established in 2012 and offers protection against deportation for more than 600,000 individuals who were brought to the United States as children.
The brief, authored by Georgetown Law’s Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection (ICAP) in coordination with Fair and Just Prosecution, argues that DACA promotes public safety by allowing recipients to ”step out of the shadows, obtain valid identification, and work cooperatively with police and prosecutors without fear of adverse immigration consequences.”
The brief argued that 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,” the brief stated.
Rinehart said he was proud to have signed onto the brief.
“When sworn in as Lake County State’s Attorney, I promised to fight for all Lake County families to make our county safer and fairer for all people, and to let our office be the voice of the victim in the courthouse,” Rinehart said.
“America’s sacred mission is to provide a political, economic, and legal system that allows anyone to prosper regardless of the circumstances of their birth, and the DACA program is essential to promoting safety and justice for all. Simply, our local communities will not be safe if victims and witnesses born outside the U.S. lose DACA protections,” Rinehart added.
ICAP Executive Director Mary McCord said that “DACA benefits everyone who cares about creating safer neighborhoods.”
“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,” McCord said.