Legal Decision Good News for 6,000 Dreamers in Pennsylvania
HARRISBURG – Attorney General Josh Shapiro has scored another major victory for thousands of Dreamers in Pennsylvanians and even more across the nation who are eligible for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), and who were at risk of deportation by the Trump Administration.
A federal court has issued an order granting a request by a coalition of 17 Attorneys General for partial summary judgment, ruling that Chad Wolf, the agency official who, in July 2020, purported to shut down new DACA applications and cut back the length of DACA renewals, was not lawfully serving as acting secretary of homeland security at the time.
“The judge in this case sided with us because he recognized the Trump Administration created this ‘self-made thicket’ and was acting above the law,” Attorney General Shapiro said. “No one is above the law and we will continue to do what is necessary to protect Pennsylvania Dreamers.”
After the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in June that the Trump Administration’s attempts to cancel DACA were unlawful, the program was supposed to resume. Instead, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced new DACA applications would not be granted and Wolf made other interim changes to DACA through a July 28 memorandum as he considered whether to fully rescind DACA.
The court’s order this weekend found that Wolf’s memo was invalid, and that Wolf has never lawfully served in the role of acting secretary of homeland security because his assumption of that role violated DHS’s order of succession.
In August, Attorney General Shapiro and a coalition of 16 Attorneys General — led by New York Attorney General Letitia James, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, and Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson — made two filings against Trump, DHS, the purported-Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Wolf, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, asking the court to vacate the Wolf memo as unlawful.
Dreamers are foreign-born residents 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. Under immigration law before the DACA program, most of these young people had no protection against deportation, even though they had lived most of their lives in the United States.
Since 2012, more than 825,000 young people who were brought to this country 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.
Joining Attorney General Shapiro, James, Healey, and Ferguson, in this case were the Attorneys General of Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawai’i, Illinois, Iowa, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and the District of Columbia.
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