Anvay Tewari

In response to the repeal of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program in September, Yale Law School’s Worker and Immigrant Rights Advocacy Clinic is suing U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services in federal court in the Eastern District of New York.

The clinic is representing DACA-recipient Martin Vidal and the organization Make the Road New York, an advocacy group that supports Latino and working class communities in New York.

“Employment authorization is crucial to young people trying to build their lives in the United States,” the lawsuit states. “It allows them to raise the funds necessary for post-secondary education, participate in the workforce, support themselves and their families, and save for the future.”

WIRAC’s core argument is that the federal government did not go through required procedures, such as providing written notice when it rescinds benefits, when it applied to New York residents a 2014 federal court ruling issued in Texas that blocked President Barack Obama’s Deferred Action for Parents of Americans policy. If the court determines that the ruling in this case does in fact apply to New York, the decision could be used to justify the repeal of DACA nationwide.

The clinic is also arguing that the district count in Texas does not have the authority to bind parties in other states, explained Kevin Fandl, an assistant professor of legal studies at Temple University and contributor to the Yale Law and Policy Review.

WIRAC initially filed the case on Sept. 5 2017, the same day President Donald Trump’s administration announced its intention to terminate DACA work protections. With no resolution reached, WIRAC last week provided the court with new filings and is preparing for litigation.

If WIRAC does prevail, the implications could be tremendous, according to a University press release. A favorable ruling could lead to a halt in DACA’s termination and give Dreamers the opportunity to renew their work protections.

Nonetheless, the Department of Justice remains confident in its position, according to a statement provided to the News by Department of Justice spokesperson Devin O’Malley.

“Promoting and enforcing the rule of law is vital to protecting a nation, its borders and its citizens,” O’Malley said. “The Justice Department will continue to vigorously defend this position and looks forward to vindicating its position in further litigation.”

The lawyers and law students who make up WIRAC collectively declined to comment on the case.

Fandl, who said he is uncertain whether WIRAC will prevail, added that the case’s significance lies not just in the arguments it lays forth, but in the context in which it is being fought.

“Courts are moved to action by the merits of an individual case, but also by the overall social fabric that is shaping laws around the country,” he said. “While a single case may yield little sympathy, the number of lawsuits challenging distinct aspects of the DACA repeal and the expressive opinions of the courts in many of those cases signal that they are aware of the broader implications of each individual case.”

In fact, 15 states and the District of Columbia have all filed lawsuits challenging Trump’s actions, in addition to many others filed by individuals like Vidal and organizations like Make the Road New York.

Carlos Rodriguez ’21, a DACA recipient, said that despite being uncertain about the lawsuit’s outcome, the case gives him hope for immigrants in the United States with work protections.

“These people are contributing to the economy and have been unjustly deprived of opportunities in this country,” he said. “Knowing that there are people involved in government — in the courts, in Congress — that are still supporting you is very reassuring and reminds you that the president, as powerful as he may try to make himself seem, still has limits to his power.”

DACA work protections were originally announced by Obama in 2012.

Niki Anderson |