On June 15, 2012, the Obama administration announces the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) initiative, which allows undocumented young immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children to temporarily remain in the U.S. and obtain work visas for two years at a time.

Starting in 2017, Donald Trump’s administration attempts to end DACA. First, as a supposed capitulation to Texas and other states opposed to it, and later by trying to limit the initiative. All along MALDEF has worked to protect DACA and the young immigrants who have applied for it.

Texas-led Multi-State Challenge:

State of Texas v. United States

June 2017 – Ongoing

June 29, 2017: Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and nine states involved in a 2015 lawsuit that ended the initiative of Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA) and an accompanying expansion of DACA 2012 threaten to amend the lawsuit to challenge DACA 2012 if the initiative is not rescinded by September 5. The states’ request is at odds with previous assertions throughout the DAPA case that they were not challenging the original DACA initiative.

September 5, 2017: U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announces the Trump administration’s decision to rescind DACA. The government sets an arbitrary one-month deadline to cease accepting new DACA applications and a six-month deadline – March 5, 2018 – to stop processing DACA renewal requests. The move sets off a series of lawsuits, including Regents of the University of California v. Department of Homeland Security, Batalla Vidal v. United States, and State of New York v. Trump, that result in temporary injunctions to keep DACA alive, though limited to renewals.

May 1, 2018: Seven states, led by Texas, file a lawsuitTexas v. United States, in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas challenging DACA. The case comes nearly six years after the initiative was put in place. The court transfers the case to U.S. District Court Judge Andrew Hanen.

May 8, 2018: MALDEF files a motion for intervention in Texas v. United States on behalf of 22 DACA recipients who argue that they would be inadequately represented by the Trump administration officials named as defendants in the litigation.

May 15, 2018:  Judge Hanen grants MALDEF’s motion to intervene in Texas v. United States on behalf of 22 DACA recipients who argued that they would be inadequately represented by the Trump administration, given the administration’s public opposition to DACA.

June 25, 2018: A federal court in Brownsville, Texas grants a request filed by the State of New Jersey to intervene in Texas v. United States.

August 8, 2018: Judge Hanen holds a hearing in Texas v. United States  to consider a request by Texas for a preliminary injunction to suspend renewals of DACA. MALDEF presents oral argument at the hearing on behalf of the 22 defendant-interveners defending the DACA initiative.

August 31, 2018: Judge Hanen denies Texas’ request for an injunction, mainly because the states waited so long after 2012 to file their challenge.

August 28, 2019: Two months after the United States Supreme Court agrees to hear three DACA rescission cases filed elsewhere, the State of New Jersey asks Judge Hanen to stay Texas v. United States pending a decision from the Supreme Court.

September 26, 2019: MALDEF files an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court on behalf of its clients — nearly two dozen DACA recipients who intervened to defend the initiative against Texas and other states. The brief asks the Supreme Court to consider new evidence based on documents and depositions in the Texas lawsuit that demonstrate that DACA is discretionary, and which contradict the Trump administration’s stated reason for shutting down DACA. State of New Jersey joins the brief.

October 1, 2019:  MALDEF files a motion asking Judge Hanen to vacate a summary judgment hearing and to postpone other deadlines in the case in order to allow time to brief additional evidence developed in discovery.

October 8, 2019: Judge Hanen hears oral argument on both New Jersey and MALDEF’s requests to the court.

November 22, 2019: Judge Hanen grants New Jersey’s motion to stay Texas v. United States until the U.S. Supreme Court issues a ruling. He denies MALDEF’s motion requesting delay as moot because his stay order has already granted the requested relief.

November 6, 2020:  Nearly five months after the U.S. Supreme Court rejects the Trump administration’s attempt to end DACA, MALDEF and other interveners file a motion seeking summary judgment and opposing a multi-state request for summary judgment in Texas v. United States.

November 9, 2020: Judge Hanen sets a Dec. 22, 2020 hearing for oral argument on the requests for summary judgment in Texas v. United States.

December 22, 2020: Judge Hanen hears oral argument on competing motions for summary judgment to end the case before going to trial. The states argue that DACA violated the Administrative Procedure Act and that the president exceeded his constitutional authority in creating the initiative. MALDEF attorneys argue that the DACA memo was a lawful exercise of presidential discretion and ask the judge to dismiss the case because the states have failed to show injury resulting from DACA’s implementation. MALDEF also argues that the court should deny the states’ request for summary judgment because a trial is necessary to resolve disputed facts in the case.

January 20, 2021: Joseph R. Biden is sworn in as president, and signs a memorandum ordering the U.S. Department of Justice and Department of Homeland Security to “preserve” and “fortify” DACA.

January 21, 2021: MALDEF attorneys file a letter with Judge Hanen requesting a status conference to discuss the Biden administration’s DACA memo that indicates the federal government will  “shortly both be taking substantive steps relating to the DACA memorandum and shifting their posture with respect to Plaintiffs’ claims.”

January 22, 2021: The Biden administration files a response in support of MALDEF’s letter, noting that the new DACA memo may “impact the substantive and procedural aspects of this litigation”

January 26, 2021: In response to MALDEF’s and the Justice Department’s request for a status conference, the plaintiff states ask the court for a final ruling on the merits of the case.

March 30, 2021: Judge Hanen holds a status hearing so that attorneys with MALDEF, DOJ and Texas can discuss how the Biden memo instructing the DHS  to “preserve and fortify DACA” may affect the case. The court requests both sides to submit briefs on why the court should defer a ruling while legislation is pending in Congress. During the hearing, attorneys for Texas ask Hanen to find DACA unlawful.

April 9, 2021: Briefs are submitted to the court by all parties in response to Judge Hanen’s request.

July 16, 2021: Judge Hanen rules that DACA is unlawful, but allows it to continue for current recipients. The ruling permits the processing of DACA renewals but does not allow for the processing of new applications.

September 10, 2021: MALDEF files a notice of appeal to indicate that it will challenge Judge Hanen’s ruling before the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. The Biden administration also files a notice of appeal.

October 4, 2021: The Biden administration asks the Fifth Circuit to stay the proceedings while DHS moves through the rulemaking process on the initiative.

October 15, 2021: The Fifth Circuit denies the federal government’s request to delay briefing while the regulatory process is concluded. The appeal will move forward with briefing, to be followed by oral argument. ​

Following is a timeline of other important litigation involving the Trump administration’s attempt to limit DACA:

January 9, 2018: Judge William Alsup of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California issues a preliminary injunction in Regents of the University of California v. Department of Homeland Security, ordering the federal government to continue to process DACA renewal requests pending resolution of legal challenges.

January 18, 2018: The Trump administration attempts to circumvent the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit by filing a petition for a writ of certiorari requesting the U.S. Supreme Court to hear a direct appeal of Judge Alsup’s decision in Regents of the University of California v. Department of Homeland Security.

February 13, 2018: Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis of U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York issues a second nationwide injunction blocking the government’s attempt to end DACA, ruling that the Trump administration’s attempt to repeal the initiative was “arbitrary and capricious.” The ruling applies to two separate lawsuits, Batalla Vidal v. Nielsen, and State of New York. v. Trump.

February 26, 2018: The U.S. Supreme Court declines to hear a direct appeal of the January 9 district court ruling in Regents of the University of California v. Department of Homeland Security.

April 24, 2018: Judge John D. Bates of U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia rules  that the Trump administration “failed adequately to explain its conclusion that (DACA) was unlawful” and orders the government to resume accepting new applications and to continue processing renewal requests. He gives the Department of Homeland Security 90 days to better explain the administration’s basis for rescinding DACA. The cases involved are NAACP v. Trump, and Trustees of Princeton v. United States of America.

May 15, 2018: A three-judge panel with the Ninth Circuit hears oral argument on whether the Trump administration’s decision to end DACA was arbitrary. The appeal in Regents of the University of California v. Department of Homeland Security follows a January ruling that resulted in a preliminary injunction.

August 3, 2018: Judge Bates of U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia orders the Trump administration to revive DACA, including accepting new applications and renewals, saying the government’s decision to rescind the initiative was “arbitrary” and “capricious.” In April, Judge Bates gives the government 90 days to explain its legal rationale. Judge Bates delays his order until August 23.  The cases involved are NAACP v. Trump, and Trustees of Princeton v. United States of America.

November 5, 2018: The Trump administration seeks review of DACA’s rescission before the U.S. Supreme Court. The administration’s petition for a writ of certiorari in Regents of the University of California v. Department of Homeland Security marks the second time it has sought to bypass federal courts currently reviewing the administration’s attempt to repeal DACA.

November 8, 2018: A three-judge panel with the Ninth Circuit  upholds a district court’s preliminary injunction in Regents of the University of California v. Department of Homeland Security.

June 28, 2019:  The U.S. Supreme Court grants certiorari in three DACA rescission cases filed in U.S. district courts in California, the District of Columbia, and New York.

November 12, 2019: The U.S. Supreme Court hears oral argument in cases challenging the Trump administration’s decision to end DACA as a violation of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA).

June 18, 2020: The U.S. Supreme Court rejects the Trump administration’s reasons for rescinding DACA, ruling 5-4 that it violated the Administrative Procedure Act. The decision leaves in place protections for more than 650,000 young immigrants.

August 28, 2020: A month after acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf issues a memo altering DACA to limit renewals and to reject new applications, Batalla Vidal v. Wolf challenges Wolf’s authority to issue the memorandum because he is improperly serving as acting secretary.

November 14, 2020: Judge Garaufis rules that Wolf did not have the authority to limit DACA because he was not legally serving as the acting Secretary of Homeland Security when he issued the memo.

December 5, 2020: Judge Garaufis instructs DHS to post a public notice by December 7 that states the department will accept and adjudicate DACA petitions from immigrants who qualify for the program but are not currently enrolled in it.

December 7, 2020: The Trump Administration announces it will begin accepting new applications for the first time in three years.


Texas v. United States

November 2014 through July 2017

November 20, 2014: The Obama administration moves to expand DACA and introduces Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA), an initiative that would allow parents of U.S. citizen or permanent resident children to temporarily remain in the U.S. and obtain work permits.

December 3, 2014: Texas and 25 other states ask a federal court in Texas to block implementation of DAPA and the expansion of DACA. That lawsuit is known as Texas v. United States.

February 16, 2015: U.S. District Court Judge Andrew Hanen issues a preliminary injunction blocking DAPA and expanded DACA from being implemented. The U.S. Department of Justice appeals the decision.

April 17, 2015: The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit hears oral argument in the appeal of the injunction.

November 9, 2015: A divided three-judge panel of the Fifth Circuit upholds the injunction blocking DAPA. At the same time, the Fifth Circuit overturns Judge Hanen’s decision to deny MALDEF’s request to intervene in Texas v. United States on behalf of three Texas mothers who sought to apply for DAPA.

January 19, 2016: The U.S. Supreme Court grants the Obama administration’s petition for a writ of certiorari, agreeing to consider whether the injunction against DAPA was properly granted.

April 18, 2016: The U.S. Supreme Court hears oral argument in United States v. Texas. MALDEF, representing the lone interveners in the case, presents oral argument on behalf of the three mothers.

June 23, 2016: The U.S. Supreme Court announces without detail a 4-4 deadlock of the justices in United States v. Texas. As a result, Judge Hanen’s preliminary injunction remains in place, blocking the implementation of DAPA.

June 15, 2017: The case returns to the trial court and, following many months of a stay to allow the new administration to decide its position, Texas refuses to agree to further delay. In response, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security officially rescinds DAPA, ending an initiative that existed on paper only.

July 28, 2017: MALDEF asks a federal court in Brownsville, Texas to dismiss Texas v. United States, the 2015 lawsuit filed by Texas against DAPA, because the case became moot once the initiative was rescinded.

September 5, 2017: Texas moves to dismiss Texas v. United States, citing the rescission of DAPA.