SAN ANTONIO, TX – New information challenges the Trump administration’s stated reasoning for rescinding Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), according to a friend of the court brief filed today with the U.S. Supreme Court.

MALDEF (Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund) filed an amicus brief on behalf of nearly two dozen DACA recipients who intervened to defend the initiative against a 2017 challenge filed by Texas and other states.

The amicus brief takes aim at the Trump administration’s legal reasoning for ending DACA that concluded DACA would be found unlawful based a 2014 federal court of appeals ruling in a related case involving Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents program (DAPA). No federal court has ruled DACA unlawful.

MALDEF’s brief, filed jointly with the State of New Jersey, provides new evidence based on documents and depositions in the Texas lawsuit that demonstrates DACA is discretionary.
This evidence directly contradicts key testimony in the DAPA case that led a court to hold that federal officials lacked discretion and were required to “rubber stamp” applications.

“DACA has immeasurably benefited our nation, and it remains much needed in a full-employment economy,” said Thomas A. Saenz, MALDEF president and general counsel.  “Yet the Trump administration attempted to eliminate DACA based on shoddy and dishonest legal reasoning by Jeff Sessions; our nation deserves better.”

Since it was initiated in 2012, DACA has provided protection from deportation and granted work authorization to hundreds of thousands of young undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as children.

The amicus brief also provides new information that the administration is aware that officials at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security direct employees to use discretion but the administration chose to ignore that information when deciding to end DACA.

“DACA recipients will have their say before the Supreme Court and will bring forward the evidence they developed in the Texas litigation showing that DACA is a lawful initiative,” stated Nina Perales, MALDEF Vice President of Litigation and counsel in the case.  “The administration had this evidence all along but chose to ignore it when deciding to end DACA.”

The U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral argument on Nov. 12 to consider whether or not the administration acted lawfully in 2017 when it announced it was rescinding DACA.

Several groups sued the Department of Homeland Security arguing the abrupt decision to wind down the program in September 2017 violated the Administrative Procedure Act. Two federal courts of appeal have ruled it violated the APA.

MALDEF’s brief asks the Supreme Court to consider the new evidence when deciding whether the administration’s reasons for ending DACA were unlawful.

MALDEF represents the DACA recipients in the Texas DACA litigation with the law firm of Ropes & Gray LLP.

Read the brief HERE and a timeline of the DACA lawsuit HERE.