Saturday, August 29, 2020

DACA recipients challenge latest Trump administration attempt to gut program

CNN reports that recipients of relief under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy created by the Obama administration are challenging the Trump administration's efforts to dismantle the policy.

In June, the Supreme Court in Department of Homeland Security v. Regents of the University of California ruled the Trump administration's attempted rescission of DACA was unlawful.  

Within days of the decision, the Department of Homeland Security released the following statements:

Acting Secretary Chad Wolf: “DACA recipients deserve closure and finality surrounding their status here in the U.S. Unfortunately, today’s Supreme Court decision fails to provide that certainty. The DACA program was created out of thin air and implemented illegally. The American people deserve to have the Nation’s laws faithfully executed as written by their representatives in Congress—not based on the arbitrary decisions of a past Administration. This ruling usurps the clear authority of the Executive Branch to end unlawful programs.”

Acting Deputy Secretary Ken Cuccinelli: “The Supreme Court’s decision is an affront to the rule of law and gives Presidents power to extend discretionary policies into future Administrations. No Justice will say that the DACA program is lawful, and that should be enough reason to end it.  Justice Clarence Thomas had it right in dissent: ‘Such timidity [by SCOTUS] forsakes the Court’s duty to apply the law according to neutral principles and the ripple effects of the majority’s error will be felt throughout our system of self-government.’” (bold added).

Acting Homeland Security Secretary Wolf later announced that DACA renewals would be limited to one year instead of two and continue not accept new applications. 
In an amended complaint filed yesterday, several DACA recipients and Make the Road New York, an immigrant advocacy organization, challenged the latest directive "cruel, heartless, and unlawful," and urged the court to block the administration's effort to effectively end the program.  The complaint explains:
"Plaintiffs Martín Jonathan Batalla Vidal, Antonio Alarcón, Eliana Fernandez, Carlos Vargas, Carolina Fung Feng, M.B.F., Ximena Zamora, Sonia Molina, and Johana Larios Sainz (`Individual Plaintiffs'), on behalf of themselves and all other similarly situated individuals, and Make the Road New York (`MRNY'), on behalf of itself, its members, and its clients (collectively `Plaintiffs' or `Named Plaintiffs'), bring this action to challenge the Trump Administration’s latest unlawful attempt to dismantle the DACA program and eviscerate its protections. The Wolf Memorandum violates the U.S. Constitution, the Administrative Procedure Act, the Federal Vacancies Reform Act, and the Homeland Security Act, and must be set aside. So, too, must the implementing memorandum issued by Defendant Edlow (`Edlow Memorandum'), which violates the U.S. Constitution and the Administrative Procedure Act. The stakes cannot be overstated: over a million young people seek to live securely in the only country they know as home, and the DACA program properly affords them that opportunity, as well as the opportunity to work and support their families, and to travel for humanitarian, educational, or employment reasons. Plaintiffs therefore ask this Court to again enjoin the Trump Administration’s unlawful efforts to gut the DACA program."
Among the claims is that Chad Wolf's appointment as Acting Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security was invalid, thus making his policy memorandum invalid.  President Trump has tweeted that he plans to nominate Wolf to the position.

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