Category Archives: November 2020

NILC Statement on President-elect Biden’s Selection of Alejandro Mayorkas as Secretary of Homeland Security

November 23, 2020

Tenoch Flores, [email protected]

NILC Statement on President-elect Biden’s Selection of Alejandro Mayorkas as Secretary of Homeland Security

LOS ANGELES — Upon the announcement that President-elect Joe Biden will be nominating Alejandro Mayorkas to lead the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Marielena Hincapié, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center, issued the following statement:

“We are thrilled with President-elect Biden’s historic selection of Alejandro Mayorkas to lead the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. This represents an exemplary choice that will not only serve our next president and the American people well, but also sends a strong signal to immigrant communities that the Biden administration fully intends to follow through on its commitment to undo the harms of the Trump administration.

“As an immigrant and a Latino, Mayorkas’s lived experience will prove an invaluable asset to the Biden-Harris administration. I know from first-hand experience, having partnered closely with him in implementing the successful DACA policy when he was head of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, and later from his time as deputy secretary of Homeland Security, that he is someone who will listen to the voices of immigrant communities and will remain responsive to their concerns. Mayorkas has a deep understanding of the complex immigration laws and policies impacting the country. He is compassionate, fair, and deeply committed to restoring due process to our system.

“As the next DHS secretary, Mayorkas will have one of the toughest jobs, given how much damage needs to be undone from President Trump’s anti-immigrant policies, and he will also oversee critical issues resulting from climate change in overseeing FEMA, cybersecurity, and a broad range of responsibilities. Since he’s been confirmed by the U.S. Senate three times throughout his career, the Senate should swiftly move to confirm Mayorkas.

“We applaud the Biden-Harris transition team for their historic selection and look forward to working closely with Mayorkas to build a 21st century immigration system that is humane and fair and recognizes immigrants as a strength to our nation.”

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Immigrant Youth Hail Court Decision Rejecting Trump Administration’s Assault on DACA

November 14, 2020

NILC: Juan Gastelum, [email protected], 213-375-3149
MRNY: Yatziri Tovar, [email protected], 917-771-2818

Immigrant Youth Hail Court Decision Rejecting Trump Administration’s Assault on DACA

In August, New York immigrant youth amended their lawsuit to challenge Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf’s entire DACA memo

NEW YORK — Today, in the Batalla Vidal v. Wolf lawsuit, a federal court rejected the Trump administration’s latest attack on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). The court found that the July 2020 memo issued by Chad Wolf, who claimed to be the acting secretary of Homeland Security, was invalid because he was unlawfully appointed. As a result of the decision, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security should return the DACA program to its initial form — reopening DACA to first-time applicants, restoring work authorization and renewals to two years, and making travel on advance parole available to DACA recipients without restrictions.

The court also granted the plaintiffs’ request to be certified as the representatives of a nationwide class of approximately one million DACA-eligible individuals across the country. The court directed the parties to contact the court “immediately” to schedule a conference regarding next steps and any relief stemming from the legal opinion.

In August, DACA-eligible youth, first-time applicants, and DACA recipients filed a legal challenge against the Wolf memo, arguing that it unlawfully and drastically diminished the program, and that it was issued without legal authority. Following the Supreme Court’s decision in June striking down the Trump administration’s attempt to terminate DACA, the government should have restored DACA to its original terms. Instead, it issued the Wolf memorandum, which prohibited first-time DACA applications, cut renewals from two years to one, and drastically curtailed the ability of DACA recipients to travel abroad on advance parole. The plaintiffs asked the court to invalidate this latest attack on DACA so that the government would be required to process first-time DACA applications, two-year renewals, and advance parole requests. The court’s ruling today now makes that relief likely.

“This is an incredible victory for DACA recipients and first-time applicants like me,” said Johana Larios, plaintiff in Batalla Vidal v. Wolf and member of Make the Road New York. “DACA has opened so many opportunities for hundreds of thousands of youth, and now I hope to be able to go through with my application. With DACA, I hope to be able to return to school and feel safe from being separated from my young children.”

Javier. H. Valdés, co-executive director of Make the Road New York, organizational plaintiff in the case, said, “As we look forward to a Biden administration, we know this victory is just the beginning. Not only must the new administration immediately protect DACA and TPS [temporary protected status] holders and reverse all of Trump’s nativist polices, but also provide swift relief and a path to citizenship for the millions of undocumented families across this country.”

“The court’s ruling today is a victory for the individual plaintiffs in this case and for Make the Road New York as well as for over one million DACA recipients and applicants,” said Medha Swaminathan, a law student intern with the Jerome N. Frank Legal Services Organization at Yale Law School. “The Batalla-Vidal plaintiffs are fighting for all Dreamers, their families, and their communities. The court’s decision today reflects the tenacity, strength, and determination of the DACA movement in ensuring that the government respects the law.”

“The court has reaffirmed what we always knew: Chad Wolf was not authorized to perform the functions of an acting secretary when he issued the July 28 DACA memo,” said Trudy S. Rebert, staff attorney at the National Immigration Law Center. “This is a victory for our courageous plaintiffs, DACA-eligible youth across the country, and all of our communities. We remain steadfast in our commitment to ensure that the Trump administration is accountable to the law and that immigrant youth remain safe and have the freedom to thrive here at home.”

The plaintiffs — Martín Batalla Vidal, Antonio Alarcón, Eliana Fernandez, Carolina Fung Feng, Carlos Vargas, Johana Larios, Ximena Zamora, Sonia Molina, M.B.F., and Make the Road New York — are represented by Make the Road New York, the National Immigration Law Center, and the Worker and Immigrant Rights Advocacy Clinic, a part of the Jerome N. Frank Legal Services Organization at Yale Law School.

The court’s memorandum and order is available at


♦♦ More information about DACA and the Wolf memorandum’s restrictions is available from

♦♦ Information for class members: or