DACA

  • January 29, 2018
    Guest Post

    by Daniel Costa, Director of Immigrantion Law and Policy Research, Economic Policy Institute

    *This piece was originally published by Economic Policy Institute

    Yesterday the White House one-page framework for a legislative deal to provide a permanent immigration status to DACA recipients was made public, which is in addition to the four-page memo released on January 9 that included the Department of Homeland Security’s priorities for an “immigration deal.” The new one-page memo includes a long list of far-reaching demands to “reform” the immigration system, in exchange for remedying the crisis that President Trump himself imposed on the nearly 700,000 immigrants who were brought to the United States as children by their parents, and who voluntarily availed themselves to the U.S. government after they were promised that they would be protected and not deported by the Obama administration.

  • January 25, 2018
    Guest Post

    by Shoba Sivaprasad Wadhia, Samuel Weiss Faculty Scholar and founding director of the Center for Immigrants’ Rights Clinic at Penn State Law - University Park

    Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is a policy implemented in 2012 that to date has enabled nearly 800,000 people who came to the United States before the age of sixteen, establish the requisite residence, physical presence and educational requirements to request a form of prosecutorial discretion known as “deferred action.” Originating from a rule published by the Reagan administration in 1981, grantees of deferred action may request work authorization if they can establish “economic necessity.” After receiving work authorization, the type of work a DACA recipient may enter is unrestricted, enabling one to pursue a job in a variety of sectors. DACA recipients with college degrees in a high-demand field are eligible to work in the area of their study and often do.   

  • September 7, 2017
    Guest Post

    by Brad Smith, President and Chief Legal Officer, Microsoft

    This piece was originally posted on Microsoft On The Issues

    We are deeply disappointed by the administration’s decision today to rescind protection under the program for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). As we said last week, we believe this is a big step back for our entire country.

    The question for individuals, employers and the country is what we do now.

  • September 5, 2017
    Guest Post

    by Shoba Sivaprasad Wadhia, Samuel Weiss Faculty Scholar and founding director of the Center for Immigrants’ Rights Clinic at Penn State Law - University Park and Lorella Praeli, Director of Immigration Policy and Campaigns and former Dreamer, American Civil Liberties Union

    *This piece draws from an ACS briefing call on DACA from August 24, 2017

    During the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump promised to deport Dreamers, a reference to people who came to the United States as children.

    The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA), announced by the Obama Administration in June 2012, allows qualifying young people who were brought to the United States as children to request that any removal action against them be deferred in the exercise of prosecutorial discretion. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and 10 other state attorneys general have written to Attorney General Jeff Sessions indicating their intent to challenge DACA in court unless the administration agrees to rescind the program by September 5, 2017. Against this backdrop, the Trump administration announced the decision to terminate DACA.

  • May 23, 2016
    Guest Post

    by Shoba Sivaprasad Wadhia, Samuel Weiss Faculty Scholar and founding director of the Center for Immigrants’ Rights Clinic at Penn State Law- University Park.

    On May 19, 2016, Judge Andrew Hanen issued an unusual 28-page order scolding the Department of Justice for making statements that in the view of Judge Hanen were misleading. The order alleges that Department of Justice attorneys deceived the court about its activity surrounding two deferred action programs announced by President Obama on Nov. 20, 2014. Deferred action is one form of prosecutorial discretion in immigration law that temporarily protects the government’s lowest priorities from deportation. The 2014 deferred action programs would modify the 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and establish a similar program known as Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents for qualifying parents who lack a formal legal status. The allegation by Judge Hanen is that the government erroneously granted DACA renewal applications for three years pursuant to the 2014 Directive (DACA +) as opposed to the two-year period contemplated under 2012 DACA.

    Much of the press coverage on Judge Hanen’s May 19 order has focused on the order’s scolding. But equally, if not more alarming, are the implications of Judge Hanen’s demand on the Department of Justice to provide a list of individuals granted DACA under the 2014 directive. According to the order: “This list should include all personal identifiers and locators names, addresses, “A” file numbers and all available contact information, together with the date the three-year renewal of approval was granted.” If the order has a legal effect, unleashing a list of names and A-numbers raises privacy concerns and has the potential to instill greater fear in a community that is already vulnerable to the delay caused by the Texas litigation and announcements by the government to use raids as a tool to detain and deport adults and children who purportedly fall within its enforcement priorities. Judge Hanen has also ordered “any attorney employed at the Justice Department in D.C. who appears, or seeks to appear in a court (state of federal) in any of the 26 Plaintiff states annually attend a legal ethics course”, believing himself that Justice attorneys have failed to comply with their ethical duties during the course of the Texas litigation.

    A real conversation about the ethics of the Texas litigation should cover the distortions made by the Plaintiff states and lower courts around the history and legal foundation to implement the 2014 deferred action programs. The 123-page opinion issued by the district court on Feb. 16, 2015 and authored by Judge Hanen contained misrepresentations about immigration law and policy, some of which were memorialized in a letter signed by 104 scholars and teachers of immigration law who identified the opinion as “deeply flawed.” As one example, the letter criticizes the district court’s characterization of deferred action as lacking statutory authority and beyond the scope of prosecutorial discretion – despite the ample authority held by the Department of Homeland Security to operate a deferred action program. Subsequent to the district court opinion, oral arguments were heard by a three-judge panel at the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals and again displayed great confusion around the terms lawful presence, deferred action, and employment authorization to name a few. As I described earlier: