Trustees of Princeton University v. United States of America

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA NATIONAL ASSOCIATION FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF COLORED PEOPLE, et al., Plaintiffs, v. Civil Action No. 17-1907 (JDB) DONALD J. TRUMP, et al., Defendants. TRUSTEES OF PRINCETON UNIVERSITY, et al., Plaintiffs, v. Civil Action No. 17-2325 (JDB) UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, et al., Defendants. MEMORANDUM OPINION These cases present an array of administrative and constitutional challenges to the Department of Homeland Security’s (“DHS”) rescission of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (“DACA”) program. Though the government disputes these challenges on the merits, its primary defenses concern the Court’s authority to hear the cases: the government contends that most plaintiffs lack standing, that the Immigration and Nationality Act (“INA”) deprives the Court of subject-matter jurisdiction, and that the Department’s decision to rescind DACA is not subject to review under the Administrative Procedure Act (“APA”) because it was committed to agency discretion by law. The government has moved to dismiss the complaint in its entirety, and plaintiffs have moved for summary judgment only on their APA claims. These are just two of a series of challenges to the September 2017 rescission of DACA that have already been before several district courts, two circuit courts of appeals, and the Supreme Court on two occasions. At this time, two preliminary injunctions are in place that require DHS to accept applications for the renewal of DACA benefits, but not to accept new DACA applications. Here, through their pending motions, plaintiffs seek permanent injunctive relief, although only on their APA claims. And the relief they seek would reach new as well as renewal DACA applications. For the reasons that follow, the Court concludes that it has both jurisdiction and statutory authority to hear plaintiffs’ APA and constitutional claims. The Court further concludes that, under the APA, DACA’s rescission was arbitrary and capricious because the Department failed adequately to explain its conclusion that the program was unlawful. Neither the meager legal reasoning nor the assessment of litigation risk provided by DHS to support its rescission decision is sufficient to sustain termination of the DACA program. Thus, plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment will be granted in part, and the decision to rescind DACA will be vacated and remanded to DHS. Vacatur of DACA’s rescission will mean that DHS must accept and process new as well as renewal DACA applications. The Court will stay its order of vacatur for ninety days, however, to allow the agency an opportunity to better explain its rescission decision. 2 BACKGROUND I. THE IMPLEMENTATION AND RESCISSION OF DACA A. Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals In 2012, then-Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano issued a memorandum establishing the DACA program, which allowed certain undocumented aliens 1 who had been brought to the United States as children to be treated as low priorities for removal under the federal immigration laws. See AR 1. 2 According to the Secretary’s memorandum (the “DACA Memo”), these young people generally “lacked the intent to violate the law” when they entered the United ...

Original document
Source: All recent Immigration Decisions In All the U.S. Courts of Appeals