×

Young immigrant files lawsuit challenging Trump administration's DACA decision

Martin Batalla Vidal, who was born in Mexico, poses in Brooklyn, New York, Friday
Claudia Torrens | AP
Martin Batalla Vidal, who was born in Mexico, poses in Brooklyn, New York, Friday

Just hours after Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the White House's move to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, a young New York immigrant has filed a lawsuit arguing that the decision "violate[s] federal law and the equal protection guarantee of the Constitution," according to a lawyer involved with the case.

Batalla Vidal, a 26-year-old Mexican immigrant and DACA recipient, in conjunction with nonprofit group Make the Road New York, went to federal court Tuesday to challenge the Trump administration's termination of the Obama-era program that protects an estimated 800,000 people who entered the United States illegally as children.

The case, Batalla Vidal v. Baran, et al, was originally filed in 2016 challenging a court decision that blocked the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) program and the expansion of DACA from going into effect.

On Tuesday, the lawsuit was amended to challenge the White House's decision to end DACA. It was brought in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York. The suit is against the U.S. federal government, according to a representative from the National Immigration Law Center. There has been no response yet to the suit.

"Losing DACA would have a dramatic impact on my life. It would prevent me from being able to take on major professional or academic goals, make me unable to work legally, and put me at risk of being deported and separated from my family," Vidal said.

He came to the U.S. from Mexico when he was 7 years old, according to the press release. He works in a nursing home and rehabilitation center, and supports his mother.

Vidal and the nonprofit are represented by Make the Road New York, the National Immigration Law Center, and the Worker and Immigrant Rights Advocacy Clinic at Yale Law School, the same group that challenged Trump's executive order restricting travel from six Muslim-majority countries.

The announcement from Sessions on Tuesday morning sets up a potential rush for lawmakers to pass a bill protecting people living in the country illegally before the Trump administration's six-month deadline to act passes.

"Terminating DACA betrays the nearly 800,000 young people who have put their faith in the government, throwing their lives into terrifying chaos," said Mayra Joachin, staff attorney at the National Immigration Law Center.