Willkie Obtains Win as Federal Court Orders Restoration of DACA

July 20, 2020

The ruling mandated that the government fully reinstate the program to its pre-termination status.

On July 17, US District Court in the District of Maryland ordered the rescission of the termination of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and mandated that the government restore the program to its pre-September 5, 2017 termination status.

The July 17 ruling states that “the rescission of the DACA policy is vacated” and that defendants “are enjoined from implementing or enforcing the DACA rescission and from taking any other action to rescind DACA that is not in compliance with applicable law.”

Brought by plaintiffs including CASA and a coalition of organizations and DACA recipients from across the US, the suit was originally filed in October 2017, the month after the Trump administration announced the program's termination. The case achieved a major win in May 2019 when the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeal ruled that the Trump administration’s attempted rescission of DACA violated the Administrative Procedures Act (APA). In June 2020, the Supreme Court struck down the termination of DACA in a separate case brought against the administration. DACA was created in 2012 and rescinded by the Trump administration in 2017, leading to lawsuits filed across the country. Despite the Supreme Court ruling, the Administration took no visible steps to restore the program, but rather continued to publically defy the ruling by refusing to accept new DACA applications. The order from the District of Maryland provided much needed clarity that not only was the Administration’s termination of DACA in 2017 unlawful, but also that the program must be restored. Restoring the program means that the Administration must begin accepting new and renewal DACA applications, provide work authorization permits and advance parole to DACA recipients, and is prohibited from using information provided in DACA applications for immigration enforcement purposes.

With over 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.

Willkie was part of a legal coalition representing the plaintiffs in this suit. The Willkie team includes partner Elizabeth Bower, senior counsel Kevin Clark, and associate Kyle Mathews.

The legal coalition representing the plaintiffs includes Arnold & Porter, the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs, and Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP.

The July 17 ruling can be found here.