Willkie Obtains Win as Fourth Circuit Strikes Down Administration’s Rescission of DACA

May 20, 2019

The decision came in a case brought by CASA and a coalition of organizations and DACA recipients from across the US.

On May 17, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals held that the Trump administration’s attempted rescission of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) Program violated the Administrative Procedures Act (APA).

In a published opinion, the majority concluded that the Administration’s decision to terminate DACA—a program that protected 800,000 young people brought to the U.S. as children from immigration enforcement and granted these individuals the right to work, travel, and pursue an education—was “not adequately explained and thus was arbitrary and capricious," in violation of the APA. This reversed part of a lower court's ruling upholding the Department of Homeland Security’s decision to rescind the program. DACA was started in 2012 and rescinded by the Trump administration in 2017, leading to lawsuits filed across the country. This suit was originally filed in October 2017, the month after the Trump administration announced the program's termination. The current decision marks the first federal appeals court, and second federal court generally, to make a dispositive ruling on the legality of DACA rescission.

With almost 100,000 members across the states of Maryland, Virginia, and South Central Pennsylvania, CASA is the largest member-based Latino and immigrant organization in the mid-Atlantic region. CASA organizes with and litigates on behalf of low-wage immigrants.

The legal coalition representing the plaintiffs in this suit include Arnold & Porter, the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs, Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP, and the Howard University School of Law Civil Rights Clinic.

The Willkie team included partners Elizabeth Bower, Kevin Clark, and Priya Aiyar, and associates Kyle Mathews, Zachary Cobb, Sarah Krame, and Kyle Burns.