On June 18, 2020, the United States Supreme Court affirmed what this Court and others around the country had already concluded in virtual unison: the Trump Administration’s 2017 attempt to terminate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (“DACA”) program was unlawful. Department of Homeland Security v. Regents of the University of California, 591 U.S. ___, 140 S. Case 1:16-cv-04756-NGG-JO Document 308 Filed 08/28/20 Page 1 of 63 PageID #: 4789 2 Ct. 1891 (2020) (“Regents”). In the weeks that followed, Defendants sowed confusion among the more than one million individuals impacted by the Supreme Court’s decision, first by denouncing the decision as having “no basis in law” and then by refusing to abide by its directive to return to the status quo ante. Less than six weeks after the Supreme Court ruling, Defendants compounded the harm by issuing a new memorandum dismantling the DACA program, thereby prolonging the daily uncertainty faced by those who have, or are eligible for, DACA. This latest assault on DACA is no less unlawful than the first.
Defendant Wolf’s July 28, 2020 memorandum (“Wolf Memorandum”) requires the Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) to immediately, categorically, and retroactively deny first-time applications for DACA, cut the renewal periods for current DACA recipients in half, and severely limit the availability of advance parole for DACA recipients. 1 This directive is cruel, heartless, and unlawful. Defendants enacted life-altering changes to DACA even though Defendant Wolf was improperly designated as Acting DHS Secretary and thus lacked the authority to issue the Wolf Memorandum. In addition, the Wolf Memorandum and the agency’s actions to implement it are arbitrary and capricious. Finally, the Wolf Memorandum and a subsequent implementing directive issued by Defendant Edlow on August 21, 2020 (“Edlow Memorandum”) have violated due process by (1) depriving DACA applicants whose applications for deferred action or advance parole were pending between June 30 and July 28, 2020 of a fair opportunity to have their applications adjudicated; (2) failing to provide notice that it would reject first-time applications and most advance parole requests during this timeframe; and (3) changing the terms of renewal without advance notice.
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.