Santa Clara County along with Service Employees International Union Local 521 announced that they have filed suit in federal court Tuesday against the Trump administration for its elimination of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
The lawsuit, announced Tuesday at a news conference with county and union officials, is being touted as the first lawsuit against the DACA elimination by a municipality and a labor union together.
Also mentioned as defendants in the suit are Attorney General Jeff Sessions, acting Secretary of Homeland Security Elaine Duke and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
"Our lawsuit is unique because it is a partnership with our represented employees, with local SEIU 521 asserting standing on behalf of its own membership," Santa Clara County Counsel James Williams said. "This is the first partnership of its kind."
SEIU Local 521 chief elected officer Riko Mendez said its chapter covers public, nonprofit and public hospital employees across 17 California counties from San Mateo to Bakersfield. The largest contingent in the chapter is in Santa Clara County, where they cover more than 10,000 members.
Mendez said no other municipalities approached the union about teaming together for a DACA lawsuit before Santa Clara County did. He said the union filed an amicus brief in support of a previous lawsuit to defend sanctuary cities and counties.
"This is the first time that any union and a county have officially joined together as co-plaintiffs in a lawsuit against the federal administration," Mendez said.
The DACA program allowed for undocumented immigrants who arrived in the U.S. as children to apply for a deferment of deportation and apply for work permits, which they can renew every two years. The Trump administration announced no more new applications would be accepted under a phased termination of the program.
More than 800,000 undocumented immigrants -- also known as "Dreamers" -- have signed up for the program since it was established as an executive order from then-President Barack Obama in 2012. Around 223,000 of those Dreamers live in California and 23,000 of them live in Santa Clara County.
The city of San Jose, University of California, 15 other states and Washington, D.C., have also filed suit against the Trump administration after President Donald Trump rescinded the program on Sept. 5. None of those lawsuits, however, collaborated with an employee union.
"That's what we think makes it a very effective lawsuit, and very difficult for our adversaries to dismiss," Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors president Dave Cortese said.
Mendez said many of its members want the union to do the "right thing" to support DACA recipients.
"I feel that standing up for our members that are part of DACA, and also our members that provide services to the undocumented population, we're doing the right thing as the organization," he said.