New York Dreamers Formally Ask Federal Court to Reinstate DACA

December 15, 2017

Juan Gastelum, National Immigration Law Center, [email protected], 213-375-3149
Daniel Altschuler, Make the Road New York, [email protected], 917-494-5922

New York Dreamers Formally Ask Federal Court to Reinstate DACA

BROOKLYN, NY — A group of “Dreamers” and their attorneys today formally asked a federal court in Brooklyn to block the Trump administration’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA. The motion for a preliminary injunction, if granted, would reinstate the program, allowing hundreds of thousands of immigrant young people currently covered by or eligible for DACA to continue applying for its protections.

“The heartless decision to end DACA has already uprooted thousands of people’s lives and caused immeasurable harm,” said Trudy Rebert, staff attorney at the National Immigration Law Center. “We are asking the court to correct this unlawful and reckless decision and to provide necessary relief. Ultimately, this crisis needs a permanent fix, and only Congress can deliver that by passing the Dream Act.”

Established in 2012, DACA allows eligible immigrant youth to apply for protection for deportation and work permits in two-year increments. On Sept. 5, the Trump administration announced that it would abruptly end the program.

Batalla Vidal v. Duke, the first lawsuit filed challenging the termination of DACA, is brought by six New York “Dreamers”—Martín Batalla Vidal, Antonio Alarcon, Eliana Fernandez, Carolina Fung Feng, Mariano Mondragon, and Carlos Vargas—and Make the Road New York. They are represented by the National Immigration Law Center, Make the Road New York, and the Worker and Immigrant Rights Advocacy Clinic at Yale Law School.

The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, in Brooklyn, alleges that the termination of DACA violated administrative law, equal protection, and due process guarantees enshrined in the Constitution. The motion filed today points to the imminent irreparable harm caused by the administration’s decision and asks the court to provide immediate relief by reversing the administration’s actions. Attorneys are also seeking to certify a class that would include all individuals who have or are eligible for DACA.

Antonio Alarcon, DACA recipient and youth organizer with Make the Road New York and a plaintiff in the case, said: “Trump’s heartless decision to end DACA has caused great harm to me and my family by putting my future in jeopardy. We’re filing for a preliminary injunction because what he did was not just wrong—it was illegal. And it’s already hurting thousands of Dreamers around the country who have lost protection. At the same time, we know that the real solution to the crisis Trump has caused is to pass the clean Dream Act before Christmas, and we’re going to fight every day to make sure that happens.”

Every day, an estimated 122 immigrant youth lose DACA protections, including their ability to work and contribute fully to their communities. More than 12,000 young people have lost DACA protections since Sept. 5.

One of the DACA recipients mentioned in the filing, Gustavo Galicia, 30, has lived in California since he was two years old. As an adult, he was diagnosed with end-stage renal failure. Galicia had to receive regular dialysis treatments for a decade until he got a kidney transplant earlier this year. Despite his precarious health condition, he has worked at the California Employment Development Department to help support his family, while he also took college classes. Losing his DACA would mean losing his job and his health insurance. He could face severe health consequences if he does not find an alternative way to pay for his medical costs. “If I lose my DACA in August, I would have to stop school again and focus on staying alive,” Galicia says in his declaration to the court.

A hearing on the motion for a preliminary injunction and class certification in the Brooklyn court is set for January 18, 2018.

The Memorandum of Law in Support of Plaintiffs’ Motion for Preliminary Injunction is available at