Friday, June 28, 2019


WIRAC Suit Defending DACA Heads to Supreme Court

Supreme Court

The U.S. Supreme Court today granted the Trump administration’s request to review a legal challenge to the termination of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), in a case brought by the Worker and Immigrant Rights Advocacy Clinic (WIRAC).  

Batalla Vidal v. McAleenan, the first lawsuit that sought to challenge the termination of DACA, was brought by six New York DACA recipients and the advocacy organization Make the Road New York. They are represented by WIRAC, the National Immigration Law Center, and Make the Road New York. The Supreme Court also granted certiorari in two other cases challenging the termination of DACA, and consolidated the three cases.

“For seven years, the hugely successful and popular DACA initiative has opened up opportunities and provided a sense of security to hundreds of thousands of eligible immigrant youth, to the benefit of everyone in our communities,” said Edgar Melgar ’20, law student intern in WIRAC at Yale Law School. “We will continue to vigorously defend DACA alongside the many courageous young people and organizations — including our plaintiffs Martín Batalla Vidal, Antonio Alarcon, Eliana Fernandez, Carolina Fung Feng, Mariano Mondragon, Carlos Vargas, and Make the Road New York — who are fighting back against Trump’s cruel, reckless, race-driven, and illegal termination of DACA.”

The court is likely to hear oral arguments in the fall or winter. For now, three U.S. district courts’ orders, which allow current DACA recipients to renew their protections, are still in effect. The Supreme Court did not stay any of the lower court orders when it agreed to hear the cases, which means that DACA recipients can continue to submit renewal applications.

“President Trump has been overt about his unconscionable scheme to throw the future of DACA into uncertainty and use immigrant youth as a bargaining chip to advance an extremist, anti-immigrant agenda,” said Marielena Hincapié, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center. “His administration has gone so far as to refuse even to consider legislative action to provide relief and has repeatedly blocked bipartisan efforts to enact a permanent solution. This tactic, which is rooted in white supremacy and includes jailing and deporting as many people as possible, militarizing the border, and severely cutting avenues for people to come to the U.S., has already caused immeasurable harm.“

Courts across the country have repeatedly agreed with plaintiffs in their assertion that the Trump administration’s termination of DACA was arbitrary and capricious, with callous disregard for the major disruption this sudden move would cause.

“If the Supreme Court reverses the current injunctions and allows Trump to end DACA, the consequences will be devastating for myself and my family, and I know my story is echoed by hundreds of thousands of people like me across the country,” said Eliana Fernandez, a plaintiff in the lawsuit and member of Make the Road New York. “Trump’s decision to end DACA doesn’t just hurt immigrant youth: our children, our parents, our employers, our schools, and the country as a whole would be worse off if DACA were to disappear.”

“DACA isn’t just morally and legally sound, it’s also broadly supported across the country,” said Javier H. Valdés, co-executive director of Make the Road New York. “We hope the Supreme Court will agree with the analysis of the lower courts, affirm the injunctions, and uphold the rule of law. Now is the time for justices to do what’s right for the rule of law and our country and reject the Trump administration’s unlawful termination of DACA.”