The Yale Law School clinic that won the first legal battle against Trump’s immigration ban came into the spotlight last week, this time as it lobbied on behalf of an undocumented immigrant in New York.
The Worker and Immigrant Rights Advocacy Clinic submitted a letter to Judge Nicholas Garaufis of the Eastern District Court of New York with a request to amend their complaint to include legal claims against the Sept. 5 repeal of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. Martín Batalla Vidal and the community organization Make the Road New York originally filed the complaint in 2016 to challenge the reach of a court injunction of the Obama administration’s immigration-relief initiatives that included the expansion of DACA. In teaming up with the National Immigration Law Center and MRNY, students and faculty at the clinic argued in the letter that the DACA repeal violates both the Administrative Procedure Act and the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
Former Law School Dean Harold Koh, who served as Legal Adviser of the Department of State for four years under the Obama administration, told the News that the clinic’s claims are “clearly correct.”
“The Trump Administration arbitrarily and capriciously reversed position and denied DACA recipients their settled expectations, driven apparently by rank discrimination based on race and national origin,” Koh said. “The absence of any legislative safety net or any administrative scheme explaining why the Department of Homeland Security should make deportation of hard-working, law-abiding Dreamers a high priority makes that reversal of position all the more egregious.”
The letter argues that the government’s failure in providing a reasonable explanation of the DACA decision not only violates the APA’s prohibition against arbitrary and capricious agency action, but also comes up short especially given its importance for the 80,000 DACA recipients and their family and friends.
In addition, the letter argues that termination of DACA violates the equal protection clause in the Fifth Amendment because it is motivated by discrimination against Latinos and Mexicans, who are most affected by the repeal.
“The administration’s only explanations for terminating the DACA program are ‘federal court rulings in ongoing litigation’ and a letter from the Attorney General dated September 4,” the letter said. “Hypothetical lawsuits by others and the Attorney General’s speculation regarding the possible ultimate outcome of any unfiled actions are insufficient to abandon the program and do not constitute a consideration of ‘all relevant issues and factors.’”
The clinic’s action pioneers a series of legal challenges against the DACA repeal, including a lawsuit filed by a coalition of 16 Democrat attorney generals.
“When critical moments like this take place, Yale Law School students do not sit on the sidelines, they make headlines,” Law School Dean Heather Gerken said in the school’s press release.
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