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Case Name Orantes-Hernandez v. Meese IM-CA-0039
Docket / Court 2:82-cv-01107-MMM-VBK ( C.D. Cal. )
State/Territory California
Case Type(s) Immigration
Attorney Organization ACLU Chapters (any)
ACLU National (all projects)
ACLU National Prison Project
ACLU of Southern California
NDRN/Protection & Advocacy Organizations
Case Summary
In 1982, a group of Salvadoran refugees filed a class action lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Central District of California, challenging practices and procedures of the Immigration and Naturalization Service ("INS") in detaining, processing and removing those seeking political ... read more >
In 1982, a group of Salvadoran refugees filed a class action lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Central District of California, challenging practices and procedures of the Immigration and Naturalization Service ("INS") in detaining, processing and removing those seeking political asylum from El Salvador. Plaintiffs alleged that the INS (1) used coercive tactics to cause Salvadorans to accept "voluntary departure" to El Salvador; (2) failed to advise them of their right to counsel, their right to apply for political asylum, and their right to a hearing prior to deportation; (3) denied them effective assistance of counsel and (4) detained them in solitary confinement without hearings. Plaintiffs, who were represented by the ACLU Foundation of Southern California, the ACLU Immigrants' Rights Project, the National Immigration Law Center and private firms, sought class certification and injunctive relief.

On April 30, 1982, the district court (Judge David Kenyon) certified a nationwide class and issued a preliminary injunction. Orantes-Hernandez v. Smith, 541 F.Supp. 351 (C.D. Cal. 1982). The preliminary injunction prohibited the INS from coercing class members into electing voluntary departure and required the INS to provide Salvadorans with two forms of notice of their rights. The preliminary injunction remained in effect while the district court held a trial on the merits of the case from 1985 through 1987. Following the trial, in which the Court heard testimony and evidence from approximately 175 witnesses, the Court (Judge Kenyon) issued a permanent injunction that mandated specific procedures to be used by the INS when detaining, processing, and removing Salvadoran refugees. Orantes-Hernandez v. Meese, 685 F.Supp. 1488 (C.D.Cal. 1988), The government appealed and the Ninth Circuit affirmed. Orantes-Hernandez v. Thornburgh, 919 F.2d 549 (9th Cir. 1990). Judge Kenyon modified the permanent injunction in 1991 to add four conditions that applied solely to the Port Isabel Service Processing Center in Port Isabel, Texas.

The injunction remained in effect from 1991 through 2004. During that period, the federal government created the Department of Homeland Security, thereby consolidating and restructuring various governmental agencies involved with enforcement of immigration laws. As part of the restructure, the INS was eliminated. The Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) of the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, which took over the care of unaccompanied minors in immigration custody, sought clarification of certain parts of the injunction. A stipulation was entered by the Court on September 28, 2004, clarifying the terms of the injunction as applied to the Office of Refugee Settlement.

About a year later, the government moved to dissolve the permanent injunction on various grounds. The District Court first heard the government's argument that the enactment of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 ("IIRIRA"), which provides for expedited removal of inadmissible aliens, was in conflict with the permanent injunction. Following argument and briefing by the parties, the District Court (Judge Margaret M. Morrow) modified two paragraphs of the injunction. Orantes-Hernandez v. Gonzales, 2006 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 95387 (C.D.Cal. Aug. 22, 2006 ). In December 2006, the parties briefed and argued the government's remaining grounds for dissolution of the injunction. On July 24, 2007, Judge Morrow issued an order refusing to dissolve most provisions of the injunction for substantial non-compliance. The Judge found that the evidence showed few if any violations regarding administrative segregation and legal presentations and, as such, determined that those provisions could therefore be terminated. On the other hand, the Court found a significant number of violations of the remaining critical provisions of the injunction, including those dealing with detainees' access to legal materials, telephone use, and attorney visits, as well as detention center conditions. Based on those continued violations, the remaining provisions of the injunction were ordered to remain in force. Orantes-Hernandez v. Gonzales, 504 F.Supp.2d 825 (C.D.Cal. 2007). On September 20, 2007, the government filed a notice of appeal to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

On September 24, 2007, the plaintiffs filed a motion to consolidate all the remaining provisions of the injunction in a single order to provide clarity and ensure compliance. The government objected that consolidation would constitute a material change, altering the posture of the case on appeal. On November 26, 2007, the District Court granted the plaintiffs' motion, stating it did not constitute a material change. The government appealed that decision as well. Under the modified injunction, the Court issued following injunctions : 1) prohibition on use of coercion in advising asylum seekers on "voluntary departure; 2) prohibition of misrepresentation of the meaning of political asylum and various procedures associated with it; 3) the government had to advise detainees of their legal rights, including right to counsel and a hearing, and materials related to this case; 4) give notice to and access to interested parties and counsel; 5) restriction of the government's ability to transfer detainees; 6) access to telephone for the detainees.

On April 6, 2009, the Ninth Circuit affirmed both of District Court's orders.

On August 4, 2009, the plaintiffs filed a motion for attorney's fees. The court granted the motion on March 29, 2010, and awarded $1,343,888.02 in attorney's fees and costs. On May 11, 2010, the parties entered a joint stipulation in settlement of attorney's fees, which was approved on May 12, 2010. The government had to pay $986,967.54, which fully satisfied the Court's order for attorney's fees.

On July 10, 2014, prompted by the government's initial response to the large influx of unaccompanied alien children ("UAC") and families - many from El Salvador - who have recently been apprehended along the United States border with Mexico, plaintiffs filed an application for a temporary restraining order ("TRO"). The application sought to have the court order the government to give class counsel a weekly list of the names, age, and gender of all class members detained at the Nogales Processing Center ("the NPC") in Nogales, Arizona, and to allow class counsel to visit class members at the NPC so they can determine whether the government is complying with the terms of the injunction. On July 17, 2014, the Court denied the plaintiffs' motion for TRO. The court reasoned that the plaintiffs' application was not based on any underlying cause of action asserted in the case and did not seek injunctive relief related to the issues in the original complaint. Violation of class members' due process and First Amendment rights was a new claim. However, the Court concluded that there is evidence that the government might not be complying with the terms of the injunction, and thus, the class counsel was allowed to speak with class members to investigate further. The Court construed the plaintiffs' arguments as a motion to compel post-judgment discovery and granted it. The government was ordered to allows class counsel to interview 25 class members no later than July 30, 2014.

On July 23, 2014, the parties filed a joint report on further discovery.

Dan Dalton - 12/03/2007
Zhandos Kuderin - 07/24/2014


compress summary

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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Freedom of speech/association
Defendant-type
Jurisdiction-wide
Law-enforcement
General
Access to lawyers or judicial system
Conditions of confinement
Extradition
Juveniles
Law library access
Library (non-law) access
Phone
Placement in detention facilities
Unconstitutional conditions of confinement
Immigration
Asylum - criteria
Asylum - procedure
Constitutional rights
Detention - conditions
Detention - procedures
Refugees
Plaintiff Type
Non-profit NON-religious organization
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), 8 U.S.C. §§ 1101 et seq.
Bivens
Defendant(s) Attorney General of the United States
Immigration and Naturalization Service
United States Department of State
Plaintiff Description All citizens and nationals of El Salvador eligible to apply for political asylum who have been or will be taken into custody by agents of the INS and later the Department of Homeland Security.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations ACLU Chapters (any)
ACLU National (all projects)
ACLU National Prison Project
ACLU of Southern California
NDRN/Protection & Advocacy Organizations
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Attorneys fees
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Litigation
Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration 1982 - n/a
Case Closing Year n/a
Case Ongoing Yes
Additional Resources
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Case Studies Threats to the Future of the Immigration Class Action
Washington University Journal of Law and Policy
By: Jill E. Family (Widener University School of Law)
Citation: 27 Wash. U. J.L. & Pol'y 71 (2008)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
2:82-cv-01107-MMM-VBK (C.D. Cal.) 07/23/2014
IM-CA-0039-9000 PDF | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
[Opinion] 06/02/1982 (541 F.Supp. 351) (C.D. Cal.)
IM-CA-0039-0002 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law: Permanent Injunction 11/20/1990 (685 F.Supp. 1488) (C.D. Cal.)
IM-CA-0039-0003 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
[Appellate Opinion] 11/20/1990 (919 F.2d 549)
IM-CA-0039-0004 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Opinion 08/22/2006 (2006 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 95387) (C.D. Cal.)
IM-CA-0039-0011 PDF | LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: LexisNexis
Opinion [Re: Alleged Facial Conflicts Between the Permanent Injunction and the Expedited Removal Statute] 10/11/2006 (2006 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 95388) (C.D. Cal.)
IM-CA-0039-0010 PDF | LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: LexisNexis
Amended Order Granting in Part and Denying in Part Defendants' Motion to Dissolve the Orantes Injunction 07/24/2007 (504 F.Supp.2d 825) (C.D. Cal.)
IM-CA-0039-0001 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Order Granting Motion to Consolidate All Current Provisions of Permanent Injunction in a Single Order 11/26/2007 (C.D. Cal.)
IM-CA-0039-0005 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Modified, Consolidated Injunction 11/26/2007 (C.D. Cal.)
IM-CA-0039-0006 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Mandate [Affirming] 01/07/2009 (321 Fed.Appx. 625)
IM-CA-0039-0007 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Granting in Part Plaintiffs' Motion for Attorneys' Fees and Costs under the Equal Access to Justice Act 03/29/2010 (713 F.Supp.2d 929) (C.D. Cal.)
IM-CA-0039-0008 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Declaration of Woody E. Lee in Support of Defendant's Reply in Opposition to Plaintiff's Motion for a Temporary Restraining Order 07/14/2014
IM-CA-0039-0009 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Beezer, Robert R. (Ninth Circuit)
IM-CA-0039-0004
Farris, Joseph Jerome (Ninth Circuit)
IM-CA-0039-0007
Kenton, Victor B. (C.D. Cal.) [Magistrate]
IM-CA-0039-9000
Kenyon, David Vreeland (C.D. Cal.)
IM-CA-0039-0002 | IM-CA-0039-0003
Morrow, Margaret M. (C.D. Cal.)
IM-CA-0039-0001 | IM-CA-0039-0005 | IM-CA-0039-0006 | IM-CA-0039-0008 | IM-CA-0039-0010 | IM-CA-0039-0011 | IM-CA-0039-9000
Schroeder, Mary Murphy (Ninth Circuit)
IM-CA-0039-0004
Schwarzer, William W (N.D. Cal.)
IM-CA-0039-0007
Vukasin, John P. Jr. (N.D. Cal.)
IM-CA-0039-0004
Wardlaw, Kim McLane (C.D. Cal., Ninth Circuit)
IM-CA-0039-0007
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Arulanantham, Ahilan T (California)
IM-CA-0039-0010 | IM-CA-0039-9000
Barker, Timothy S. (California)
IM-CA-0039-0002
Edwards, Thomas (California)
IM-CA-0039-0002 | IM-CA-0039-0003
Hayward, Miriam (California)
IM-CA-0039-0002 | IM-CA-0039-0003
Holguín, Carlos R. (California)
IM-CA-0039-0002
Huerta, Alvaro M. (California)
IM-CA-0039-9000
Joaquin, Linton (California)
IM-CA-0039-0002 | IM-CA-0039-0003 | IM-CA-0039-0010 | IM-CA-0039-0011 | IM-CA-0039-9000
Kristovich, Stephen M. (California)
IM-CA-0039-9000
Marmalefsky, Dan (California)
IM-CA-0039-0002 | IM-CA-0039-0003
Murphy, Emily Rose DiMento (California)
IM-CA-0039-9000
Nash, Susan E. (California)
IM-CA-0039-9000
Natarajan, Ranjana (California)
IM-CA-0039-0011 | IM-CA-0039-9000
Neville, Sheila K. (California)
IM-CA-0039-0003
Newell, Jennifer Chang (California)
IM-CA-0039-9000
Pearlman, Paula D. (California)
IM-CA-0039-0003
Pettit, Sandra B. (California)
IM-CA-0039-0003
Phillips, Bradley S. (California)
IM-CA-0039-9000
Rosenbaum, Mark Dale (California)
IM-CA-0039-0003 | IM-CA-0039-0004 | IM-CA-0039-0010 | IM-CA-0039-0011 | IM-CA-0039-9000
Schey, Peter A. (California)
IM-CA-0039-0002
Stokely, Jeannette E (California)
IM-CA-0039-0002 | IM-CA-0039-0003
Tumlin, Karen C. (California)
IM-CA-0039-0010 | IM-CA-0039-0011 | IM-CA-0039-9000
Van Der Hout, Marc (California)
IM-CA-0039-0002 | IM-CA-0039-0003
Weisz, Vera (Florida)
IM-CA-0039-0003
Wheeler, Charles Hammond (California)
IM-CA-0039-0003
Defendant's Lawyers Bolton, John R. (District of Columbia)
IM-CA-0039-0003
Bondy, Thomas M. (District of Columbia)
IM-CA-0039-0004
Bonner, Robert C. (California)
IM-CA-0039-0003
Brosio, Frederick M. Jr. (California)
IM-CA-0039-0003
Bybee, Jay S (District of Columbia)
IM-CA-0039-0004
Evans, Richard M. (District of Columbia)
IM-CA-0039-0003
Fabian, Sarah B. (District of Columbia)
IM-CA-0039-9000
Fan, Ian (California)
IM-CA-0039-0003
Filppu, Lauri Steven (District of Columbia)
IM-CA-0039-0002
Hausman, Allen W. (District of Columbia)
IM-CA-0039-0003
Lawrence, Victor M. (District of Columbia)
IM-CA-0039-0010 | IM-CA-0039-0011 | IM-CA-0039-9000 | IM-CA-0039-9000
Nordin, John E II (California)
IM-CA-0039-0010 | IM-CA-0039-0011 | IM-CA-0039-9000
Silvis, William C. (District of Columbia)
IM-CA-0039-9000
Thirolf, Eugene M Jr (District of Columbia)
IM-CA-0039-0002
Travieso, Frank Michael (California)
IM-CA-0039-0010 | IM-CA-0039-0011 | IM-CA-0039-9000
Other Lawyers Anker, Deborah E (Massachusetts)
IM-CA-0039-0004
Millar-Melnick, Laini (California)
IM-CA-0039-0004
Pope, Clara A. (California)
IM-CA-0039-0004

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