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Virginia immigrants file federal suit over DACA extension restrictions

[JURIST] Two immigrants in Virginia filed a federal lawsuit [complaint, PDF] Tuesday against Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Homeland Security Acting Secretary Elaine Duke in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia [official website] challenging the decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program [official website].

On September 5, Sessions and Duke announced [JURIST report] that DACA would be phased out over a two-and-a-half-year period, but applicants whose DACA had already expired prior to September 5 were precluded from requesting DACA renewal.

The program originally allowed an applicant to file for renewal within one year of the expiration of the most recent authorization period. The two Virginia plaintiffs in the lawsuit are among those who had let their DACA authorizations expire and were in the process of making plans to renew, but after September were no longer able to.

According to the Legal Aid Justice Center [advocacy website], who is representing the plaintiffs, this sudden change affected about 50,000 immigrants [press release] whose DACA extensions had lapsed and who were making renewal plans.

The suit alleges this is a violation of the Due Process Clause, the Administrative Procedure Act, and the Equal Protection Clause [texts] due to "abrupt and unannounced material changes" to DACA. "Because of this sudden and surprising change," argues the lawsuit, "thousands of DACA recipients in this situation unfairly lost their opportunity to renew their DACA for one more two-year period prior to the program's phase out."

Other DREAMers have also filed suit since the September announcement, including in California and New York, as well as a group of 15 states and the District of Columbia [JURIST reports].

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