Friday, September 15, 2017


WIRAC Students Appear in Federal Court Over DACA Challenge

Susanna Evarts ’18 and Emily Villano ’19 addressing the press outside of a WIRAC case hearing on DACA in federal court in Brooklyn.

Students from the Worker and Immigrant Rights Advocacy Clinic (WIRAC) appeared in a federal court in Brooklyn on September 14, 2017 for a hearing on its challenge to the Trump Administration’s termination of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

Earlier this month, the clinic was the first in the nation to challenge the termination of DACA, in a lawsuit filed on behalf of a young immigrant New Yorker, Batalla Vidal, and the organization Make the Road New York (MRNY) in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York. Students and faculty from WIRAC are co-counsel on the case with MRNY and the National Immigration Law Center.

During Thursday’s hearing, federal Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis urged lawyers from the Trump administration to extend its deadline for young undocumented immigrants to renew applications under the DACA program. Under the administration’s policy terminating DACA, current DACA recipients whose status under the program expires prior to March 5, 2018, are eligible to renew, but only if they do so by October 5, 2017. DACA recipients whose status expires after the March 5 deadline will not be allowed to renew at all.

The judge also indicated that if the government was unable to reach a solution prior to the expiration of DACA, he might be compelled to protect the 800,000 young people know as Dreamers.

The case, Batalla Vidal v. Baran, et al, was originally filed on behalf of Mr. Badalla and MRNY in 2016 challenging the reach of the court decision in United States v. Texas that blocked Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) and the expansion of DACA from going into effect. Following the Trump Administration’s announcement to terminate the DACA program, WIRAC sought to amend the complaint in order to allow them challenge this action. Judge Garaufis granted plaintiffs leave to do so.  

Students in the Worker & Immigrant Rights Advocacy Clinic (WIRAC) represent immigrants, low-wage workers, and their organizations in labor, immigration, criminal justice, civil rights, and other matters.

Read more about the case here.