A Los Angeles federal judge ruled to issue a nationwide ban on the deportation of undocumented immigrants under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program without giving them notice and the chance to defend themselves in court.
Federal immigration agencies have allegedly revoked the immigration protections of multiple DACA recipients with minor criminal offenses and providing them no notice of such terminations. This practice came to a halt when the American Civil Liberties Union filed a class action suit on behalf of DACA recipients.
Among the defendants named by the ACLU class action include U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and Customs and Border Protection officials.
Jesus Alonso Arreola Robles, joined by the Inland Empire-Immigrant Youth Collective, is the lead plaintiff in the suit. He was working as a cook in West Hollywood and a part-time driver for ride-sharing companies when he was arrested by federal immigration agents early in 2017.
According to Robles, he was accused by immigration authorities of having assisted in smuggling the family members of one of his customers into the U.S. Before the incident, he claims to have had no criminal history, working legally to support his parents – both of whom are lawful permanent residents.
Before the hearing began, U.S. District Judge Philip S. Gutierrez announced on Monday that he was inclined to granting the class-wide injunction and certification in spite of the federal government’s insistence that it was too broad a class.
Department of Justice attorney Jeffrey Robins argued the class-wide certification is an overreach, to which Gutierrez responded by questioning if Arreola’s arrest was a matter of enforcement policy and if the immigrant was facing a felony charge.
Robins conceded that there are no crimes that were charged.
The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals is an Obama-era immigration program that grants protections to immigrants who entered the United States as children, allowing them to seek renewable permits deferring their deportation, temporary work permits, and driver’s licenses.
DACA currently protects more than 800,000 young immigrants called “DREAMers” (named after the DREAM Act, a failed bill with the same provisions as DACA) from immediate deportation. In addition to being able to legally work, most DREAMersuse the protections offered by the DACA to attend school in the U.S.
Last year, President Trump announced that he would be ending DACA on the grounds that former President Obama exceeded his executive authority in creating the program.
Not an Isolated Case
American Civil Liberties Union attorney Katrina Eiland stated that Arreola’s arrest was not an isolated case and that immigration enforcement agencies have been at this all over the country.
Eiland emphasized that the phenomenon was“a violation of the government’s own rules to terminate DACA without notice, without process, without giving the DACA recipient a chance to respond.”
If you, or a loved one, are a DACA recipient who wants to discuss this latest development with an immigration attorney, get in touch with the legal team of the Lyttle Law Firm. Call our offices today to talk to Austin immigration attorney Daniella Lyttle.