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

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Garcia Perez v. USCIS (W.D. Wash.) – Putative nationwide class action challenging policies and practices of USCIS and EOIR that prevent asylum seekers from obtaining work authorization. The lawsuit challenges EOIR’s and USCIS’ failure to provide adequate notice of adverse “asylum EAD clock” determinations or a viable mechanism to challenge these determinations as well as clock stoppages when an asylum applicant wins their case on appeal, files a change of venue, or when an unaccompanied child is waiting for USCIS to adjudicate their asylum application in the first instance. 
Co-Counsel: Northwest Immigrant Rights Project 
Status: The complaint, motion for class certification, and preliminary injunction motion was filed on June 9, 2022. 
Documents:
+ Complaint 

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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. In September 2022, Defendants file a motion to partially stay the permanent injunction, which Plaintiffs opposed and the Court denied in October 2022.
Documents:
Complaint
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
+ Defendants’ (Fifth) Compliance Report
+ Defendants (Sixth) Compliance Report
+ Defendants’ Combined Seventh Status Report and Motion for Partial Stay of Injunction
+ Plaintiffs’ Opposition to Defendants’ Motion for Partial Stay of Injunction
+ Defendants’ Reply in Support of Motion for Partial Stay of Injunction
+ Minute Order Denying Defendants’ Motion for Partial Stay of Injunction

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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. 
Documents:
Complaint
Order Denying Defendant United States’ Motion to Dismiss
Order Regarding Presidential Communications Privilege and Deliberative Process Privilege 

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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 procedural protections in those proceedings, and challenging credible fear interview delays.
Co-Counsel: Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project, American Immigration Council 
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, vacated the decision, and remanded the case to allow the Ninth Circuit to consider intervening case law. The parties then entered into mediation. On July 29, 2022, the Ninth Circuit issued a remand order instructing the district court to vacate the injunction and to consider the impact of the Supreme Court’s intervening decisions in Biden v. Texas, Garland v. Aleman Gonzalez, and DHS v. Thuraissigiam. That same day, the district court vacated the injunction and ordered the parties to file a joint status report. Accordingly, the preliminary injunction allowing for bond hearings is no longer in effect. Motions on the credible fear class remain held in abeyance.
Documents:
+ 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)
+ Supreme Court GVR Order
+ Ninth Circuit Remand Order
+ District Court Order Vacating Preliminary Injunction

CLOSED CASES 

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H.M. v. Radel (C.D. Cal.) – Complaint challenging USCIS’ failure to adjudicate I-730 follow-to-join 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 adjudicated the petitions and plaintiffs’ filed a notice of voluntary dismissal in October 2022.
Documents:
+ Complaint 
+ Notice of Dismissal

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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 in November 2021. Following briefing on the government’s motion to dismiss, USCIS issued a Policy Alert rescinding the policy that was the subject of the lawsuit. After Plaintiffs received written confirmation from USCIS, through its counsel, that no putative class member would have Matter of Z-R-Z-C- applied to their case going forward, the parties voluntarily dismissed the action.
Documents:
Complaint 
+ USCIS Policy Alert
+ FAQ Regarding Rescission of Matter of Z-R-Z-C-

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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 took effect on March 21, 2022. Plaintiffs voluntarily dismissed the action on June 3, 2022. 
Legal Documents:
Order Enjoining Expansion of Expedited Removal
+ D.C. Circuit Decision on Preliminary Injunction
+ Second Amended Complaint

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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. 
Documents:
+ Complaint
+ Motion for Class Certification
+ FAQ and Updated USCIS Guidance
+ Final Settlement Agreement
+ Order Approving Final Settlement Agreement
+ Post-Settlement FAQ

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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.
Documents:

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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.
Documents:

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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.
Documents:

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 (trina@immigrationlitigation.org), Mary Kenney (mary@immigrationlitigation.org), and/or Kristin Macleod-Ball (kristin@immigrationlitigation.org).

National Immigration Litigation Alliance, Inc.
Email: info@immigrationlitigation.org
Tel: (617) 819-4649

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