Estrada v. Becker
IRLI filed an important friend-of-the-court brief defending the right of the University of Georgia system to deny admission to illegal aliens whose deportation has been deferred under the former Obama Administration's controversial DACA program.
This case is an appeal from the dismissal in an Atlanta federal district court of a lawsuit by three noncitizen students who called themselves "deferred action holders" and accused the Georgia university system of violating their rights to equal protection and undermining the supremacy of federal immigration law, by issuing university admission rules that treat DACA beneficiaries as illegal aliens. The students are represented by the Mexican American Legal Defense Fund (MALDEF), a Texas-based legal action group which has brought similar suits in other states. MALDEF specializes in suing local governments and agencies with limited legal resources. In this case, MALDEF has targeted Georgia university officials who seek only to comply with federal and state laws restricting eligibility for public benefits like post-secondary education to citizens and lawfully present aliens.
The district court held that DACA gave MALDEF's clients no special privileges or legal status, and therefore their discrimination and preemption theories were fatally flawed.
The IRLI brief explains that "DACA lacks the force of law because it is not a valid form of 'deferred action' at all, but is ultra vires," or beyond the authorized power of DHS or the President himself. If being authorized to stay under DACA constituted lawful presence, as MALDEF's radical theory has it, the Georgia students would be both lawfully and unlawfully present at the same time under federal law.