Impact Litigation

NILA’s impact litigation in the federal courts seeks procedural or substantive change either to extend the rights of noncitizens or to eliminate systemic obstacles they or their immigration counsel routinely face. It includes affirmative suits in district court as well as select circuit level litigation that has the potential to establish the law for a region of the country; and amicus briefing to assist federal court judges in their consideration of key legal issues.

NILA’s Affirmative Litigation Docket

Photo Credit: Mariano Barrera

H.M. v. Radel (C.D. Cal.) – Complaint challenging USCIS’ failure to adjudicate petitions filed by six Eritrean refugees to bring their spouses and children to the United States.
Status: The complaint was filed on December 30, 2021. After filing, USCIS began adjudicating the petitions. 
+ Complaint 


Photo Credit: Alison Wilkinson

Gomez v. Jaddou (S.D.N.Y.) – Putative national class action challenging USCIS’ policy of making Temporary Protected Status holders ineligible to obtain green cards after their return from authorized travel abroad. 
Co-Counsel: Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, Law Office of Stacy Tolchin
Status: The complaint was filed on November 8, 2021. The government subsequently filed a motion to dismiss, which has been fully briefed.

Photo Credit: Erica Miranda

Nightingale v. USCIS (N.D. Cal.) – Certified national class action seeking to force USCIS and ICE to timely comply with requests for immigration case files (A Files) under the Freedom of Information Act.
Co-Counsel: Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, American Immigration Council, Law Office of Stacy Tolchin
Status: On December 17, 2020, the court found that USCIS, ICE, and DHS have a pattern or practice of violating FOIA’s statutory deadlines, granted summary judgment, and permanently ordered the agencies to cease failing to adhere to the deadlines, to eliminate their backlogs within 60 days, and to provide quarterly compliance reports. 
Class Certification Order
Plaintiffs’ Motion for Summary Judgment (Redacted)
Order Granting Summary Judgment in Favor of Plaintiffs for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief
Defendants’ (First) Compliance Report
Defendants’ (Second) Compliance Report
Defendants’ (Third) Compliance Report
Defendants’ (Fourth) Compliance Report
Unopposed Motion for Payment of Attorneys’ Fees and Costs

Photo Credit: Laura Belous

C.M. v. United States (D. Ariz.) – Action under the Federal Tort Claims Act seeking damages on behalf of five families subjected to the Trump Administration’s family separation policy
Co-Counsel: Arnold & Porter LLP,  Kairys, Rudovsky, Messing, Feinberg & Lin, National Immigration Justice Center, and American Immigration Council
Status: The district court denied the United States’ motion to dismiss in March 2020. The parties are actively engaged in discovery. 
Order Denying Defendant United States’ Motion to Dismiss
Order Regarding Presidential Communications Privilege and Deliberative Process Privilege 

Photo Credit: Matt Adams

Padilla v. ICE (W.D. Wash., 9th Cir., S. Ct.) – Certified national class action preserving the right to a bond hearing for asylum seekers who entered without inspection and passed a credible fear, seeking further procedural protections in those proceedings, and challenging delays in providing credible fear interviews.
Co-Counsel: Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, American Immigration Council, American Civil Liberties Union
Status: In January 2021, the Supreme Court granted the government’s petition for a writ of certiorari seeking review of the Ninth Circuit’s decision affirming the district court’s preliminary injunction order (providing for bond hearings), vacated the Ninth Circuit’s decision, and remanded the case to allow the Ninth Circuit to consider intervening case law. The parties are in mediation. Importantly, the injunction (allowing for bond hearings) remains in place. Motions on the credible fear class are held in abeyance.
+ Third Amended Complaint
+ Class Certification Order (Bond Hearing and Credible Fear Class)
+ Order Clarifying Bond Hearing Class Definition
+ Ninth Circuit Decision Re: Preliminary Injunction (Bond Hearing Class Only)

Photo Credit: Tom Doody

Make the Road New York v. McAleenan (D.D.C., DC Cir.) – Challenging the expansion of expedited removal.
Co-Counsel: American Civil Liberties Union, American Immigration Council, Simpson Thatcher & Bartlett LLC
Status: On June 23, 2020, the DC Circuit reversed the district court’s decision enjoining the expansion. The parties then briefed and the argued a second preliminary injunction seeking to enjoin the expansion based on claims not previously addressed. DHS subsequently reviewed and rescinded the expansion. The rescission became effective on March 21, 2022.
Legal Documents:
Order Enjoining Expansion of Expedited Removal
+ D.C. Circuit Decision on Preliminary Injunction
+ Second Amended Complaint


Photo Credit: Erica Miranda

Vangala v. USCIS (N.D. Cal.) – Putative national class action challenging USCIS’ policy of rejecting benefits applications filed by survivors of domestic violence and asylum seekers simply for having left any blank space on the application.
Co-Counsel: Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, Van Der Hout LLP
Status: The complaint and class certification motion were filed in November 2020. Soon thereafter, USCIS agreed to halt implementation of the policy while the parties engaged in settlement discussions. The district court approved the  final settlement agreement on July 20, 2021. As a result of the lawsuit, USCIS will accept and adjudicate as timely filed over 60,000 applications denied under the policy. 
+ Complaint
+ Motion for Class Certification
+ FAQ and Updated USCIS Guidance
+ Final Settlement Agreement
+ Order Approving Final Settlement Agreement
+ Post-Settlement FAQ

Photo Credit: Zoe S. Feinberg

Campbell Davis v. USCIS (E.D. Pa.) – Putative regional class action seeking immediate naturalizations for individuals who had their oath ceremonies cancelled or not scheduled due to the outbreak of COVID-19.
Co-Counsel: Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, Law Office of Stacy Tolchin, and Kairys, Rudovsky, Messing, Feinberg & Lin LLP
Status: Dismissed in July 2020 after USCIS naturalized Plaintiffs and 2,202 members of the proposed class.

Photo Credit: Norah Higgins

Doe v. Nielsen (D. Ariz.) – Successful challenge to unconstitutional conditions in CBP’s short-term detention facilities (known as “hieleras”).
Co-Counsel: Morrison & Foerster LLP, ACLU American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona, National Immigration Law Center, Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area, American Immigration Council
Status: The District Court’s permanent injunction became final after all parties voluntarily dismissed their cross appeals. Plaintiffs continue to monitor implementation of the injunction.

Photo Credit: Lindsay Nash

Moreno v. Nielsen (E.D.N.Y.) – Putative class action challenging USCIS’ policy of denying adjustment applications filed by TPS holders who initially entered without inspection.
Co-Counsel: Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, American Immigration Council
Status: Dismissed after the Supreme Court’s decision in Sanchez v. Mayorkas resolved the issue.

Amicus Briefs

NILA authors amicus briefs on issues within the expertise of their staff. Likewise, NILA signs onto select amicus briefs written by outside authors on issues important to the immigrants’ rights movement. To request amicus support from NILA or to ask NILA to sign onto an amicus brief, please email Trina Realmuto (, Mary Kenney (, and/or Kristin Macleod-Ball (

National Immigration Litigation Alliance, Inc.
Tel: (617) 819-4649

Photo Credit: