San Francisco, CA —  A federal judge of the US Eastern District Court of New York, Judge Nicholas Garaufis, ruled on Saturday that the acting Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, Chad Wolf, did not have the proper legal authority to issue a memo in July 2020 which suspended acceptance of new applications for the Obama-era deportation relief program, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). 

This follows the June 2020 US Supreme Court ruling, which struck down the Trump Administration’s years-long attempt to end the DACA program as “arbitrary and capricious”. In July 2020, Director Chad Wolf issued a memo to suspend the eligibility of new DACA applications, and limit DACA renewal terms from two years to one. Since Wolf is still awaiting Senate confirmation, however, the memo cannot take effect—a decision celebrated by the 20,000 current DACA participants who belong to the AAPI community, as well as the 150,000 qualified individuals who have not applied for DACA. 

As long-standing advocates for a just and humane immigration system, CAA commends this new development, which ensures that programs like DACA will continue to offer pathways to permanent residency status for undocumented individuals in our communities and beyond. 

“This is another victory for undocumented immigrants and the immigrant rights movement. The use of illegitimate means to advance a morally repugnant agenda has been a hallmark of this presidential administration. Judge Garaufis’ decision provides relief to DACA applicants and current recipients who have found the Trump administration’s attacks on DACA to be destabilizing,” said Annette Wong, CAA’s Director of Programs. 

Facing a global pandemic that has disproportionately impacted communities of color, undocumented immigrants face additional hardships as it relates to access to economic opportunity, health care, and education. Not only do undocumented workers continue to be at the frontlines, but DACA recipients also work as part of the United States healthcare industry, even as the number of COVID-19 infections and deaths rise across the country. 

“We welcome the court’s decision and would like to ensure individuals, who might be eligible to benefit from the DACA program, are aware of the recent development. Immigrant-serving organizations in San Francisco including CAA are ready to assist API undocumented youth in our community with free immigration pre-screenings and legal referrals,“ said Jose Ng, CAA Immigrant Rights Program Manager. 

Community members with questions about this decision should consult with an immigration attorney to better understand the implications of the ruling on their individual cases. CAA provides impacted community members pre-screening and referral services to trusted, low-cost, immigrant legal service providers.

CAA will be hosting a virtual workshop to inform the community about the recent rulings and their implications for immigrant communities on Friday, November 20, 2020, at 4pm Pacific Time. Community members who are interested in participating or have questions about their specific situations are encouraged to contact CAA’s Immigrant Rights program at 415-761-3222 for general inquiries and legal referrals.  


Chinese for Affirmative Action (CAA) is a community-based civil rights organization in San Francisco. Our mission is to protect the civil and political rights of Chinese Americans and to advance multiracial democracy in the United States. We advocate for systemic change that protects immigrant rights, promotes language diversity, and remedies racial injustice.