Deferred Action In the news

DACA Texas court ruling expected soon, but…

DACA Texas court ruling expected soon, but future of young undocumented far from clear

By ROXANA KOPETMAN | | Orange County Register
PUBLISHED: August 15, 2018 at 7:13 pm | UPDATED: August 16, 2018 at 1:29 pm

(original article link here:

Image: Immigration activist Omar Martinez attends a rally in front of the U.S. Supreme Court on April 18, 2016.
(File photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

There was no set deadline, but the perception of one seemed real enough.

It was a Saturday in early August and Jose Lopez’s downtown Los Angeles apartment looked like a command center of sorts. With a printer set up on the center of the kitchen table, a dozen young immigrants sat with computers in the kitchen and living room, typing with quiet intensity.

Their goal: To get their DACA renewal applications into the government, via Fed Ex, that night. They wanted to file the paperwork before a district court judge ruled on a lawsuit that challenges Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival — the program created by president Barack Obama that grants young immigrants a work visa and temporary deferral from deportation.

“It was as quiet as it could be,” Lopez said of the DACA application-a-thon. “Everybody was typing, unless someone had a question.

“You could feel the tension in the room.”

It turned out the deadline wasn’t real; the Texas judge held off on his ruling, which is expected any day now.

But the fear palpable in Lopez’s apartment that night remains. For DACA recipients — a world that includes about 89,000 people in Southern California — there is growing anxiety about a cluster of lawsuits moving through the courts that could determine the fate of the program and, with it, their futures.

Many are particularly concerned about the ruling expected as soon as this week from District Judge Andrew Hanen in Texas.

In 2015, Hanen blocked Obama’s plan to expand DACA and create a similar program for parents of American-born children, a program called DAPA, or Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents. That case reached the U.S. Supreme Court, which split 4-4, so the expanded protections never went into effect.

“The case that is triggering anxiety is the one in Texas,” said Dianey Murillo, an organizer with the Inland Empire Immigrant Youth Collective.

While many expect Hanen to rule against DACA, attorney Thomas Saenz argues that there are important differences between Obama’s expanded plan and the existing version of the DACA program. The program to protect parents, DAPA, was never implemented. DACA, on the other hand, has existed for six years and has been used by some 800,000 young immigrants nationally without causing irreparable injury to the states, said Saenz, president and general counsel of the Mexican American Legal Defense Counsel, or MALDEF.

Even if Hanen rules against DACA, the Texas judge “has no greater authority than any other district judge in the country,” Saenz said.

And so far, other courts have ruled favorably toward DACA.

If Hanen does rule against DACA, contravening the orders of other courts across the country, the federal government “would face a conundrum,” in Saenz’ view, because it “does not have the right to choose which injunction it likes best.”

Most observers believe the case will likely be settled before the U.S. Supreme Court, unless Congress comes up with a different plan for unauthorized youth, often known as “Dreamers.”

The Texas lawsuit is an outlier among the lawsuits, some of which have been consolidated or are moving in tandem through five federal courts: in California, New York, Maryland, Washington D.C. and Texas. Most seek to protect DACA, not dismantle it.
Lawsuits were filed after Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced on Sept. 5 an end to the DACA program, which some argue is unconstitutional, an abusive overreach of executive powers by President Obama, and a financial burden on states.

The lawsuits include one collectively known as Regents of the University of California v. Department of Homeland Security. On Jan. 9, District Judge William Alsup ruled in favor of UC, issuing a preliminary injunction that allowed existing DACA holders to renew their status.

Other courts in New York and Washington D.C. also ruled in favor of DACA. Most recently, on Aug. 3, District Court Judge John Bates in D.C. called the cancellation of DACA “arbitrary and capricious” and he ordered full restoration of the program, allowing also for new applicants to file, but he delayed implementation for 20 days.

Attorney General Sessions earlier this month criticized decisions “in which courts have improperly used judicial power to steer, enjoin, modify, and direct executive policy.”

Meanwhile, a district judge in Maryland struck down a challenge to the program, although he opined: “This court does not like the outcome of this case, but is constrained by its constitutionally limited role.”

With Hanen’s ruling pending, as well as various appeals across the country, this is considered a critical time for the nearly 700,000 people who currently hold DACA and the hundreds of thousands of others who may qualify for the temporary protection.

“In the next few weeks and few months, we could see developments in these cases that significantly alter the landscape for DACA recipients,” said Marielena Hincapié, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center.

There are fewer than 700,000 people currently holding DACA status. That’s a drop from the approximate 800,000 original applicants.

About 40,000 DACA recipients dropped from the pool because they became permanent legal residents, according to a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services spokeswoman. Others who didn’t renew may have missed a window to apply after the program was suspended or may not have been able to afford the $495 renewal fee.

“Many didn’t renew out of fear or because they didn’t have the funds,” said Sheridan Aguirre, a spokesman for the United We Dream group, which bills itself as the largest immigrant youth-led network in the country.

California has the most people protected by DACA; nearly 197,000 as of last January, according to the Migration Policy Institute.

Most polls show that a majority of Americans support DACA. And for those who are accepted into the program, it’s a game changer. They can work, travel, drive, and basically live without the fear of being detained for deportation.

A new survey released Wednesday by the Immigration Policy at American Progress, a progressive public policy research and advocacy organization, describes the impact of the program on its recipients. Of 1,050 people interviewed, 54 percent moved to a job with better pay and nearly half got jobs with better working conditions as a result of their DACA protections, benefits that better fit their education and goals.

Lopez, the Dream Team LA organizer, said he would fit in that category.

“DACA has done a lot of things for me. I have a stable job. I have a new car. I built up credit and I’m looking to buy a house,” Lopez said. “Every time I renew, I’m asked about my assets and income on the application. And every year, it increases. And it’s all due to DACA.”

Immigrant advocates are urging DACA applicants to renew their applications now, regardless of when they expire.

Aguirre, of the United We Dream group, said he sent off for his own renewal in the last week, a year early. Murillo, from the Inland Empire group, also sent hers in early.

As did Lopez and his friends, who rushed to file their renewals on that recent Saturday, when sprawled across Lopez’s home “you could hear printers all day.”

“Everyone was doing their applications,” Lopez said, “without knowing what the future of DACA holds.”

In the news

Trump’s Proposed Immigration Rule Punishes Those Who Use Social Services

The Department of Homeland Security drafted a rule that would take into consideration a person’s use of social services as a condition towards permanent citizenship. Under this revised rule these applicants would be deemed as not being self sufficient and a public charge thus denied citizenship. The proposed ruling would affect non-citizens who are in the process of adjusting their status. In many cases federal laws enacted under President Clinton bars undocumented immigrants from receiving social benefits. The U.S. children born to immigrant parents are entitled to benefits such as WIC (Women, Infants, and Children) and this is how these citizen applicants get caught up in the proposed rule.

It is important to note that this is just a draft and may never become a rule, but these drafts give a view into the direction of DHS policies, and this proposal ignores a fundamental understanding of how immigrants come to America. Immigrants arrive here with little more than the clothes on their backs and a suitcase. They don’t speak the language, don’t understand our systems, they are impoverished. They rely upon family, benevolent societies from their home country and other charitable programs. Over the years they become better able to find work, function in our society and then raise families. Families of American citizens who will tell the stories of how their grandfather arrived in America fleeing war and violence and “made it” here.

President Trump wants to end these American stories.

DREAM Team LA spoke with journalist Massoud Hayoun about these issues for his article in the Pacific Standard. The following is a reprint of the article and the original can be found here.


The Department of Homeland Security says a new draft rule saves taxpayers money. Activists warn that it targets immigrants and the poor.

by MASSOUD HAYOUN – FEB 14, 2018 – Originally published in Pacific Standard

Image: An immigrant woman takes her daughter to school before going to work on February 9th, 2018, in Miami, Florida.

(Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

The Trump administration is revising a little-known, century-old rule to penalize immigration applicants whose American-citizen relatives receive social assistance, reports say. Washington calls the draft rule a safeguard against the misuse of tax dollars; immigrant rights advocates warn that it could drive United States citizens into abject poverty.

The “public charge” provision of the U.S. immigration law aims to bar immigrants who would become dependent on state resources, unable, financially or mentally, to care for themselves. Currently the provision bars the government from considering non-cash benefits—food or housing assistance, for example—against family-based immigration petitions. The Department of Homeland Security’s new draft rule, first reported by Reuters late last week, would make those non-cash benefits count against applications for immigration status. In effect, low-income families with non-citizens applying for legal residency status would have to choose between living with loved ones or much-needed public aid for their citizen relatives.

Civil liberties advocates are concerned not just for immigrants, but for low-income Americans in general. The draft rule emanates from “a nativist position that says we don’t want certain people in our country,” says Kevin Solis, spokesman for immigrant rights group DREAM Team Los Angeles, “combined with the Republicans trying to undo the social welfare state, it’s a twofer. You get all their worst ideologies in one package.”

The aid that under the new draft rule could harm applications for immigration status includes subsidies for health-insurance coverage guaranteed by the Affordable Care Act. The apparent blow to the ACA is “not incidental,” says Claudia Calhoon, director of health policy at the New York Immigration Coalition advocacy group. “[The administration is] trying to come at it from every angle they can.”

But the potential effect on American communities is more far-reaching than Donald Trump’s apparent push to undo Obama-era policy. Among the benefits that would become public charge considerations are food stamps and other food safety programs. When children go hungry, their schooling takes a hit, “and that starts a cycle of potential challenges that aren’t good for anybody,” Calhoon says.

The affected communities include a long list of non-citizens with U.S.-born or naturalized relatives, including people granted stays of deportation by immigration courts, Temporary Protected Status recipients, and many others who have come under attack by the Trump administration, Calhoon explains.

The draft rule has the stated aim of protecting American taxpayers. “The administration is committed to enforcing existing immigration law, which is clearly intended to protect the American taxpayers,” Department of Homeland Security Press Secretary Tyler Houlton tells Pacific Standard. “Any potential changes to the rule would be in keeping with the letter and spirit of the law—as well as the reasonable expectations of the American people for the government to be good stewards of taxpayer funds.”

A copy of the draft rule published in Vox echoes that concern for American dollars. “The availability of public benefits must not constitute an incentive for immigration to the United States; and Aliens in the United States must not depend on public resources to meet their needs,” the draft reads.

But some fear that the safeguarding of tax dollars is really just a pretext for the administration’s populist brand of politics, and indeed the provision has been used in the past to enable discriminatory immigration policy, analysts say. The “obscure” public charge provision was first enacted in 1882, according to analysis from the left-leaning Center for American Progress, and has historically been used as means for barring the disabled, Jewish European immigrants escaping the Holocaust, and the Irish escaping famine, among others. Today, under Trump, the provision would target Americans of Mexican origin and other people who hail from the communities targeted by Trump’s rhetoric on immigrants. “The plan would significantly restrict family-based legal immigration from Mexico and other countries that have been the subject of the administration’s racist and discriminatory animus,” the CAP report reads.

NYIC’s Calhoon reminds that nothing is over until the Federal Registrar publishes the new rule, at which time it will become open for public comment. “It’s fortunate we have the advanced notice of the proposed rule,” she says, adding that NYIC doesn’t litigate, but it brings together an array of organizations that do. “We will be engaging with all partners we can, thinking of the full range of responses in acting.”

Deferred Action Events

**FREE Deferred Action Legal Clinic, May 11th in Los Angeles**

Dear Partners, Supporters, Allies and Community Members,

We would like to take some time thank you for all your support thus far.  Without your support, we would not be able to do what we are most passionate about: serving our communities.  With that, it is with great pleasure to announce that Dream Team Los Angeles (DTLA) successfully secured a new venue, date, and time to host our free Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Clinic in South Los Angeles.

Our South Los Angeles DACA Clinic will be taking place on Saturday, May 11, 2013 from 12:30 PM – 5:30 PM at Hebrew Union College (HUC) located on 3077 University Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90007.

 Please take note of the time change (from the typical morning shift) due to the Revlon Run/Walk for Cancer around HUC.  I hope we can still count with your support to make this event possible for our South Los Angeles community.  If you would like to volunteer, please use the following link:

Please help us promote our clinic and share the event with all your networks.  If you have any questions regarding the event, do not hesitate to contact me directly.We would like to thank you once again for your continuous support and we look forward to another successful clinic with your help!Sincerely,

Marisol Granillo and Edna Monroy

Dream Team Los Angeles (DTLA) Lead Coordinators, 2012-2013


Telephone Number: 323-380-8616 Mon-Fri 9am-5pm