Court Battles

Judge questions whether DACA lawsuits can use Trump’s campaign remarks

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A federal district judge in New York City on Monday signed off on the government’s request to appeal an order he issued in March allowing constitutional challenges to the Trump administration’s cancellation of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. 

Judge Nicholas Garaufis of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York had in March denied the government’s request to dismiss the challenger’s claims that the administration had violated the equal protection clause of the Constitution by rescinding the program.

DACA allows immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children to secure work visas and avoid deportation.


Garaufis said at the time that the plaintiffs in the case had made a plausible case, based on President Trump’s statements during the 2016 campaign, that the decision to end DACA was substantially motivated by racial animus. 

But in responding to the request to appeal that order, Garaufis agreed with the government’s argument that his order presents a legal question — namely, whether the court can consider Trump’s campaign-trail statements to determine if the intent of ending DACA is discriminatory.

“The court concluded that it could consider these statements in deciding whether Plaintiffs had stated plausible equal-protection claims,” Garaufis wrote. 

“If, however, the court were required to disregard these pre-Inauguration statements, it would likely (although not certainly) dismiss Plaintiffs’ equal-protection claims, as Plaintiffs have not alleged that the President made comparably inflammatory and offensive statements about Latinos and especially Mexicans and Mexican-Americans after taking office.”

It’s now up to the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals to decide whether to hear the appeal.

Courts across the country have blocked the administration from ending the DACA program. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals is scheduled to hear arguments in a case challenging the government’s decision on May 15.

Tags DACA Donald Trump Immigration

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