April 24, 2024
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April 24, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

‘I’m a Dreamer, but I’m Not the Only One’

A few days ago, in an historic move, the Supreme Court blocked the Trump administration’s attempt to end the popular Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. Better known as “DACA,” the program was introduced under the Obama administration in 2012 to protect from deportation undocumented immigrants who arrived in the U.S. as children. The program was rescinded by the Trump administration in 2017, jeopardizing the lives and well-being of hundreds of thousands of young people for whom America has been their only true home.

The decision is particularly meaningful for my law firm, Wildes & Weinberg, PC. Not only has our firm had the privilege to work with some of these incredibly inspiring young people, but DACA itself is based on pioneering legal work undertaken by founding partner Leon Wildes—my father—during his deportation defense of famed musician John Lennon in 1972. Leon Wildes is credited with discovering the existence of “prosecutorial discretion” in immigration matters, a concept that posits that officials can choose to defer deportation in certain cases for humanitarian or political reasons.

A major challenge at the time was that there was no evidence, beyond rumor, that prosecutorial discretion in deportation matters even existed. My father persevered, ultimately discovering the existence of the policy through a Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) request. Forty years later, the Obama administration would use the existence of prosecutorial discretion to create DACA. President Obama announced that with the program, “eligible individuals who do not present a risk to national security or public safety will be able to request temporary relief from deportation proceedings and apply for work authorization.”

Today, the concept of prosecutorial discretion in immigration matters known as the “Lennon Doctrine” is taught in law schools across the country, including in my own classes at Cardozo Law School. The policy is now enshrined by precedent, as established by the Court’s holding today. Our firm is proud to have been involved in the fight to ensure the safety, well-being and continued presence of so many young people and their families. We are dedicated to showing these dreamers that they have a place in America—and that they are truly not alone.

Michael Wildes is currently serving in his third term as mayor of the city of Englewood. He is Managing Partner at renowned immigration law firm Wildes & Weinberg, PC, and the son of founding partner Leon Wildes, who is credited with having established the existence of prosecutorial discretion in U.S. immigration law.

Mayor Wildes counts the family of First Lady of the United States Melania Trump among his clientele.

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