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Advocates Ask Court to Rule on Legality of DACA Memo

September 15, 2020 (1 min read)

MALDEF, Sept. 11, 2020

"Civil rights organizations have filed a motion for summary judgement in a lawsuit that seeks to block the Trump administration from unlawfully implementing new limits on DACA, according to papers filed in federal court today.

The motion was filed by MALDEF (Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund) and Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP, representing immigrant-serving organizations and comes a week after attorneys filed the suit challenging acting DHS secretary Chad Wolf’s authority, arguing that he was not lawfully appointed to the position.

In July, Wolf issued a memorandum setting a one-year limit on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) renewals, work authorizations and blocking new applications. According to the suit, the memo should be nullified because Wolf was improperly installed.

“Today, we asked the court to get to the legal heart of the matter and hold that Chad Wolf had no authority to restrict DACA,” said Ernest I. Herrera, staff attorney at MALDEF.  “Once the court sets aside this unlawful memo, the plaintiff organizations can get back to helping Dreamers receive fully restored DACA.”

If the summary judgement motion is granted, then the court will have reached a final decision that Wolf had no legal authority to issue the July 28 memorandum, and that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) had no authority to begin implementing the DACA restrictions.  Such a ruling would also throw out the Wolf memorandum and USCIS directives, and prevent the government from implementing them.

“Today, we have moved to have this administration’s illegal restrictions on DACA halted as soon as possible,” said E. Martin Estrada, partner, Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP.  “It is crucial to act quickly to protect the young people who benefit from DACA and the organizations who assist them.  We intend to show the court that the administration’s actions against DACA are unlawful and should be declared void.”

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Spanish Community Center, American Gateways and Santa Fe Dreamers Project, organizations that work with DACA recipients.

Since 2012, DACA has granted two-year protection against deportation and work authorizations to hundreds of thousands of young undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as children.

Read the request here."