Press Release

AALDEF hails New York federal court order restoring DACA

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The Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (“AALDEF”) applauds the federal district court’s Dec. 4, 2020 order in Batalla Vidal v. Wolf, which vacated the Department of Homeland Security’s July 2020 memorandum (“Wolf memo”) and reinstated the 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program to its original pre-Sept. 5, 2017 terms.

Margaret Fung, AALDEF executive director, said: “This order is another win for young immigrants and their allies who mobilized support across the country to declare that home is here for DACA recipients and their families. We are gratified that Judge Garaufis recognized the real-life adverse impacts that limiting and dismantling DACA would have on immigrant youth and their communities.”

In his Dec. 4 order, U.S. District Judge Garaufis affirmed an earlier Nov. 14 order reopening DACA to hundreds of thousands of immigrant youth who have been unable to apply for deferred action and work authorization under DACA; restored advance parole request criteria; and automatically extended grants of deferred action and employment authorization documents that were issued for one year (under the Wolf memo) to two years. Judge Garaufis’ Nov. 14 order certified a nationwide class of individuals who are or will be eligible for DACA under the 2012 program, or who have applications pending with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) between June 30 and July 28, 2020 and whose requests were processed according to the Wolf memo. In the Dec. 4 order, DHS was required to update its website by Dec. 7.

Annie Wang, Director of the Immigrant Justice Project, said: “Given Judge Garaufis’ order, we are prepared to assist individuals who have never had DACA and will be filing first-time requests, in addition to those who have previously been granted DACA to submit their renewal requests for two years. With the uncertainty over DACA’s future due to the pending challenge led by the State of Texas to the original 2012 DACA program, however, we stand with Asian and all immigrant communities to demand a pathway to citizenship for young immigrants and others who are undocumented.”

Since 2012, AALDEF has provided legal representation to hundreds of undocumented Asian youth. More than 120,000 young Asian immigrants are eligible for DACA. AALDEF joined other civil rights organizations in an amicus brief that focused on the reliance interests of DACA recipients.

RAISE (Revolutionizing Asian American Immigrant Stories on the East Coast), a pan-Asian undocumented youth-led group affiliated with AALDEF, said of the order: “While we are celebrating this victory for immigrants, we will continue to fight for policies that are inclusive for all undocumented people, whether they are eligible for DACA or not. In the struggle for equitable policies, we must make sure that future immigration policies, even under the Biden administration, provide long-term solutions that do not only protect select undocumented immigrants while criminalizing or excluding other parts of our community.”

Individuals who believe they are eligible to request DACA for the first time, or to renew their deferred action under DACA, but have not yet done so, should consult with attorneys and nonprofit legal service providers if they have questions about submitting their DACA renewals. See the Home is Here coalition’s DACA update, as well as a list of legal service providers across the U.S. here. AALDEF and RAISE have been holding monthly DACA renewal and immigration know your rights clinics.

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For more information, contact:
Annie J. Wang, Director, Immigrant Justice Project
212.966.5932 x213

Stan Mark, Senior Staff Attorney
212.966.5932 x204