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June 28, 2020 Rapid Response

Accountability, Reliance and Justice: Examining the Impact of the Supreme Court’s DACA Decision on DACA Recipients, Policymakers, and the Future of Immigration in the United States

On June 18, 2020 the Supreme Court held that the Department of Homeland Security’s 2017 decision to terminate the DACA program was arbitrary and capricious, and had failed to properly take into account DHS’s significant responsibility under administrative law, to weigh the impact of its actions, noting specifically the significant reliance interests that had developed for DACA recipients since the program began in 2012. The decision, however, did not hold that DACA could not be terminated; it instead focused on DHS’s failure to provide a clear and well-articulated basis for implementing the wind-down of the program. At best, the decision puts the DACA termination on hold, but it leaves many questions unanswered for the fate of DACA recipients, for immigration policymaking, post DACA, and for an appropriate response from Congress to provide legal status for DACA recipients and so many others who have been failed by our broken immigration system. This  panel of extraordinary experts led us through the short-term and long-term consequences of the Supreme Court’s latest pronouncement on the Trump administration’s immigration policy.


  • Thomas A. Saenz, President and General Counsel, Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund
    • Thomas A. Saenz is President and General Counsel of MALDEF, where he leads the civil rights organization's five offices in pursuing litigation, policy advocacy, and community education to promote the civil rights of Latinos living in the United States. Saenz re-joined MALDEF in August 2009, after spending four years on Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's executive team as Counsel to the Mayor.  He previously spent 12 years at MALDEF practicing civil rights law as a staff attorney, regional counsel, and vice president of litigation. He served as MALDEF's lead counsel in successfully challenging California's anti-immigrant Proposition 187.  Saenz graduated from Yale College and Yale Law School, and he clerked for two federal judges before initially joining MALDEF in 1993.
  • Daniela Alulema, Program Director, Center for Migration Studies (CMS)
    • Daniela Alulema is director of programs at the Center for Migration Studies (CMS). Ms. Alulema has coordinated research projects on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) implementation, statelessness, and the impact of deportation on US families and communities. In 2015, she received her Master of Science in the Urban Policy Analysis and Management Program at The New School. She obtained her bachelor’s degree in accounting from Baruch College, City University of New York (CUNY). She currently serves as a board member in the New York State Youth Leadership Council, an undocumented-led organization that seeks to empower youth to create change in their communities. 
  • Pedro Villalobos, Assistant District Attorney, Travis County Attorney’s Office
    • Pedro A. Villalobos is currently an Assistant District Attorney for the Travis County Attorney's Office. He is currently assigned to the Juvenile Division. Previously, Pedro was a trial team lead for the Assault Family Violence Division of the County Attorney's Office. Pedro has the distinction of being the first DACA recipient to be licensed by the State of Texas. Prior to being an attorney, Pedro was a political consultant, most recently for Sheriff Sally Hernandez. He is currently Councilmember Leslie Pool's appointee to the City of Austin Ethics Review Commission and was previously Mayor Steve Adler's appointee to the City of Austin Commission on Immigrant Affairs.
  • Allen Orr Jr., Orr Immigration Law Firm PC
    • Allen Orr is the founder of Orr Immigration Law Firm PC, a minority-owned law firm based in Washington, DC and focusing on a US corporate compliance.  Mr. Orr is the recipient of the 2009 Joseph Minsky Young Lawyer Award for contributions made in the immigration law field and specifically for his work with the NMD, He is listed in The International Who’s who of Corporate Immigration Lawyers and The International Who’s Who of Business Lawyers.  He is the Immigration Section Chair for the National Bar Association and a member of the Board of Directors for AILA.  Mr. Orr is a member of the Executive Committee where he is a national spokesperson for AILA. Mr. Orr received a BA in Philosophy from Morehouse and a JD from Howard School of Law. He is an active member of the DC, Virginia and National Bar Associations.  Mr. Orr has appeared on the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), FOX News, Deustsche Welle (DW), and RT American (RT) and is a frequent national and international speaker on US immigration and policy. 


  • María Blanco, Executive Director, University of California Immigrant Legal Services Center
    • María Blanco is the Executive Director of the University of California Immigrant Legal Services Center. Launched in November 2014, the center provides legal services to undocumented students on nine UC campuses. She was elected to the Public Policy Institute of California’s (PPIC) Board of Directors in 2010, and also serves on the board of the California Citizens Redistricting Commission. Before she assumed her current position, she was Vice President of Civic Engagement at the California Community Foundation. Previously, she served as Executive Director of the Chief Justice Earl Warren Institute on Race, Ethnicity and Diversity at UC Berkeley Boalt Hall School of Law, and before that as Executive Director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area. She was counsel for the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (1998–2003). She served on President Barack Obama’s transition team. Her undergraduate and law degrees are both from the University of California, Berkeley.

Joint Sponsor: ABA Commission on Immigration


Presentation: Daniela Alulema

Transcript: Accountability, Reliance and Justice: Examining the Impact of the Supreme Court’s DACA Decision on DACA Recipients, Policymakers, and the Future of Immigration in the United States

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