Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Class Action Lawsuit
Last updated NOVEMBER 19, 2020
On Saturday, November 14, 2020, Judge Garaufis of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York ruled that the memorandum issued by Chad Wolf attempting to dismantle DACA was issued unlawfully. Chad Wolf was not authorized to perform the functions of acting secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, and therefore he did not have the lawful authority to issue the DACA memo of July 28, 2020.
As a part of its decision, the court certified a nationwide class of approximately one million DACA-eligible individuals across the country. The National Immigration Law Center (NILC), the Jerome N. Frank Legal Services Organization at Yale Law School, and Make the Road New York were appointed as legal counsel for the class. We will update this webpage as there are new developments in how the court’s decision impacts DACA and immigrant youth.
We suggest you bookmark this webpage. We will be updating it with new information, and, in the coming days, we will also make available a sign-up form for class members to receive emailed updates related to the lawsuit.
November 18, 2020, Case Status Conference
During a Nov. 18, 2020, case status conference, the plaintiffs in Batalla Vidal v. Wolf and the plaintiffs in a related case, State of New York v. Trump, shared their plan to ask the court for specific orders requiring the government to take action on DACA. The court expressed an interest in moving quickly and directed the plaintiffs to file their requests for those orders by Tuesday, Nov. 24. The government’s deadline to file its opposition is Tuesday, Dec. 1. We expect the court to issue a ruling shortly thereafter.
During the status conference, the court was clear that the 2012 DACA memorandum should be the law that is “on the books.” The judge said this case impacts “the lives of many, many people who were buoyed by the Supreme Court’s decision in June and had been undermined by the conduct of the Department of Homeland Security since then.” He said that it is important to adhere to the Supreme Court’s decision issued in June, which would have allowed people to apply for DACA under the 2012 rules. The court expressed deep concern for members of the certified class and subclass who are eligible for DACA and deserve closure.
As this litigation proceeds, the plaintiffs will continue to update the information available on this page.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
On Saturday, November 14, 2020, a federal district court judge in Brooklyn, NY, concluded that the Wolf memorandum issued July 28, 2020, whose provisions further restricted the availability of DACA, was issued without legal authority because Chad Wolf was not lawfully serving as the acting secretary of Homeland Security. The judge also certified a nationwide class in the case. The court appointed NILC, the Jerome N. Frank Legal Services Organization at Yale Law School, and Make the Road New York as attorneys for the class.
On Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2020, the parties in the two cases appeared before the court at a status conference, where they shared their plan to file requests that the court require specific actions from the federal government. The court will be able to rule on those requests as early as Dec. 1, 2020.
What does it mean?
As of Nov. 18, 2020, the court has not ordered the government to take any specific actions. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security should — but has not yet been ordered to — return DACA to its initial form: reopening DACA to first-time applicants, granting two years of DACA and work authorization to future DACA recipients, and making travel on advance parole available, without restrictions, to DACA recipients. The plaintiffs will be filing motions asking the court to order the government to take certain actions. The court will determine which requests, if any, it grants.
Who is included in the class?
On Saturday, Nov. 14, 2020, the court certified a nationwide class that includes all individuals who are or will be eligible for DACA, as well as a subclass of individuals who had applications for DACA, whether initial or renewal, pending with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on any date between June 30 and July 28, 2020, and that have not been or will not be adjudicated according to the original 2012 DACA memorandum.
If you are in one or both of these categories, you are a member of the class without having to take any further steps.
That means that if the judge orders relief requested by the plaintiffs, class members will benefit even though they are not one of the named plaintiffs in the case. The only individuals who are excluded from the class and subclass are those who would be class members except that they chose to file their own individual lawsuits challenging the July 28, 2020, memo issued by Chad Wolf.
What comes next?
On Tuesday, Nov. 24, the Batalla Vidal and State of New York plaintiffs will request that the court order the government to take certain actions returning DACA to its original form. The government’s deadline to oppose our requests is Tuesday, Dec. 1. We expect the court to issue a ruling shortly thereafter.