U.S. District Judge Nicholas Garaufis issued a nationwide halt on the rollback of the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program on Tuesday in New York, a major victory for Yale Law School’s Worker and Immigrant Rights Advocacy Group, which filed the lawsuit that led to the judge’s decision.
The preliminary injunction comes more than five months after WIRAC filed the lawsuit against the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, in response to President Donald Trump’s decisions to revoke several DACA work protections for immigrants. Those protections were originally extended by former President Barack Obama in 2012 and applied to young immigrants without a significant criminal history who had lived in the United States for the majority of their lives.
“Since 2012, nearly 800,000 DACA recipients have relied on this program to work, study, and keep building lives in this country,” the court ruling states. “The decision to end the DACA program cannot stand.”
In its complaint, WIRAC — which is representing DACA recipient Martin Vidal, as well as Make the Road New York, an advocacy group that supports Latino and working class communities — argued that the government did not follow the necessary procedures when it rescinded work protections for nearly a million immigrants across the country. It does not, however, argue that the Trump administration does not have the right to rescind DACA.
The court ruling echoed this sentiment, noting that the administration “indisputably can end the DACA program” regardless of the “staggering personal, social, and economic costs.”
Nonetheless, the ruling, alongside a similar one issued in California, has significant implications for DACA recipients fearing deportation. At the moment, because of the two rulings, no one with DACA work protections is eligible for deportation.
Despite the ruling, Department of Justice spokeman Devin O’Malley said the government remains confident in its position.
“Tuesday’s order doesn’t change the Department of Justice’s position on the facts,” he said. “The Department of Homeland Security … acted within its lawful authority in deciding to wind down DACA in an orderly manner.”
The lawyers and law students who make up WIRAC did not respond to requests for comment.
Carlos Rodriguez ’21, a DACA recipient, praised the work being done by the Law School clinic and the judicial system at large.
“It’s a sign that the court is doing its job,” he said. “It’s a great step.”
WIRAC is led by four faculty advisors in the Law School.
Niki Anderson | firstname.lastname@example.org