On behalf of United We Dream, which organizes and advocates nationally for the dignity and fair treatment of immigrant youth and families, regardless of immigration status, DWT filed amicus briefs in several high-profile cases.
The cases all involved the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, whose beneficiaries include many of United We Dream’s members. Established during the Obama administration, the program allows people who entered the U.S. as minors and had either entered or remained in the country illegally to receive a renewable two-year period of deferred action from deportation and to be eligible for a work permit if they registered with the government. DACA beneficiaries have come to be known as “Dreamers.”
In 2017, President Trump moved to rescind the program. Attorneys general from 19 states filed lawsuits challenging that decision. After the federal government received an unfavorable discovery ruling in the Northern District of California, the defendants filed a petition for a writ of mandamus in the 9th Circuit. DWT’s Geoffrey Brounell and Peter Karanjia submitted a brief in opposition to that petition on behalf of United We Dream and nine other organizations. The district court subsequently issued an injunction that blocked President Trump’s efforts to end DACA. The Department of Justice announced that it will appeal that ruling.
The first known Dreamer with a work permit to be sent away under President Trump was 23-year-old Juan Manuel Montes Bojorquez. He was arrested in February 2017 and removed to Mexico and later filed a motion for a preliminary injunction, challenging his middle-of-the-night expulsion from the country without any due process. Brounell and Karanjia submitted an amicus brief on behalf of United We Dream in that case as well. Montes’ complaint was withdrawn before there was a ruling on the merits.
DWT attorneys also represented United We Dream in the case of Daniel Ramirez Medina, a Seattle-area “Dreamer” who was believed to be the first DACA participant to be detained under the Trump administration and whose case made international headlines. Steve Rummage and Ambika Doran filed an amicus brief in support of Mr. Ramirez in his lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, which arrested him without notice and detained him without a hearing.
The brief argued that DACA “granted its recipients not just a form of liberty, but also access to property,” such as the ability to open bank accounts, apply for credit cards, and buy homes. “When the Government made its promise to DACA recipients—and conveyed property rights to them—that promise came with the basic safeguards of due process: notice and a hearing as a precondition to any loss of rights. The Government failed to accord those basic procedural protections to Mr. Ramirez.”
Mr. Ramirez was released from custody the following month. His case is ongoing.