New York Attorney General scores another major court victory for Caribbean 'Dreamers'

New York Attorney General scores another major court victory for Caribbean 'Dreamers'

Saturday, December 05, 2020

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NEW YORK, United States (CMC)— New York Attorney General Letitia James has scored another major court victory for hundreds of thousands of Caribbean and other “Dreamers” across the United States who are eligible for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and who were at risk of deportation by the Trump administration.

DACA is an Obama administration programme that protected about 700,000 young Caribbean and other immigrants, known as “Dreamers”, from deportation.

Judge Nicholas G Garaufis of the US District Court in Brooklyn, on Friday issued a remedial order granting James' request for partial summary judgment.

He ordered the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to reopen the DACA programme to first-time applicants; restore protections to a two-year period, instead of one year; and make Advanced Parole available to DACA recipients again without restrictions.

“The court believes that these additional remedies are reasonable,” wrote Judge Garaufis in his decision. Indeed, the government has assured the court that a public notice along the lines described is forthcoming.

“Plaintiffs have thoughtfully addressed the subject of accrual of unlawful presence in their Memorandum and Reply. The court takes seriously any collateral consequence that may arise as a result of the unlawful Wolf Memorandum. However, the court declines to enter an ex ante declaration on that issue at this time.”

Judge Garaufis said the court reserves the right to impose further remedies if they become necessary, adding “accordingly, the court retains jurisdiction of the matter for purposes of construction, modification and enforcement of this Order, so ordered.”

In response, a delighted James told the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC) “justice prevailed, not just for 'Dreamers' but for all Americans.

“Every time the outgoing administration tried to use young immigrants as political scapegoats, they defiled the values of our nation. The court's order makes clear that fairness, inclusion and compassion matter.

“America is where these young people have gone to school, where they have worked, where they have paid taxes, where they have raised families, and where they have continued to be vital members of our communities. We are proud to fight for them and grateful to deliver them the justice they are due,” James added.

She noted that “Dreamers” are foreign-born young people who came to the United States at a young age and now identify as Americans.

“Most have no memory of or connection with the country where they were born, and many don't speak any language other than English,” James said.

After the US Supreme Court ruled in June that the Trump administration's attempts to cancel DACA were unlawful, the programme was supposed to resume.

Instead, DHS announced that new DACA applications would not be granted and that the purported acting secretary of homeland security, Chad Wolf, had made other interim changes to DACA through a memorandum issued on July 28, while Wolf considered whether to fully rescind DACA.

In August, James co-led a coalition of 17 attorneys general in two filings against President Donald J. Trump, the DHS, Wolf, US Citizenship and Immigration Services, and US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, asking the court to vacate the Wolf memo as unlawful.

Last month, a US federal district court issued an order granting James' request for partial summary judgment, ruling that Wolf was not lawfully serving as acting secretary of homeland security at the time.

Under US immigration law before the DACA programme, most “Dreamers” had no protection against deportation, even though they had lived most their lives in the US.

Since 2012, James said more than 825,000 young people who were brought to America at a young age were promised that if they came out of the shadows, they could legally work, study, serve in the military and raise families in the United States without fear of arrest or deportation.

After President Trump ordered his administration to change the policy in 2017 and break the promises made to these “Dreamers”, a prolonged legal battle began in September 2017 that made its way through multiple courts before landing, in a combined case, at the US Supreme Court.

On Friday, the court granted the coalition's request for remedy, vacating the Wolf memo and reinstating the terms governing the DACA programme to those in place prior to the attempted rescission in September 2017.

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