On May 28, 2003, plaintiffs who had been granted the status of lawful permanent resident during their removal proceedings filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas to compel the federal government to provide them with documentation of their permanent resident status in a timely manner. Plaintiffs alleged they applied for their alien registration card (“green card”) and temporary proof of their legal permanent resident status in the United States but that the government had not issued that documentation. Without such documentation, plaintiffs alleged, they were denied employment, travel, educational, and public benefits privileges granted to other legal permanent residents. Plaintiffs asserted claims for violation of the Immigration and Nationality Act (“INA”), 8 U.S.C. § 1101 et seq., as amended by the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (“IIRIRA”), the Administrative Procedure Act (“APA”), 5 U.S.C. § 701 et seq. and the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment. Attorneys with the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights under Law of Texas and private law firms, represented the plaintiffs.
On March 31, 2004, the District Court (Judge Ricardo H. Hinojosa) certified the case as a class action, over the objection of the government. Plaintiffs’ request for a preliminary injunction was denied.
Thereafter, both parties filed cross-motions for summary judgment which were amended and supplemented numerous times. Plaintiffs’ complaint likewise underwent numerous amendments. Along with their filings, the parties also notified the Court in July 2004 that substantially identical cases were pending in federal courts in California (Santillan v. Ashcroft, No. 3:04-cv-02686 (N.D. Cal.), IM-CA-0003) and Florida (Amor v. Ashcroft, No. 1:04-CV-21685 (S.D. Fla.), IM-FL-0021).
Discovery and litigation continued. On September 9, 2005, the Court (Judge Hinojosa) instructed the parties to refile new motions for summary judgment to address rulings made in the California case, Santillan v. Ashcroft.
At a motion hearing on March 22, 2006, the Court (Judge Hinojosa) granted a motion to stay the case pending Santillan (a certified national class action on the same issue), and set a status conference for early the following year. The Court also denied the cross-motions for summary judgments without prejudice to refiling.
After several continuances, a status conference was held on August 10, 2007 at which time the parties advised the Court that they were still waiting for the resolution to Santillan, but that they were also finalizing a resolution to the Padilla case.
On September 27, 2007, the Court (Judge Hinojosa), noting that the parties had urged little action over the past two years, ordered an indefinite stay of the case pending the resolution of Santillan and inviting the parties to file for reinstatement if a resolution was reached in California that would allow the case to progress.
Meanwhile, the parties had been negotiating, and in December 2007 both they and the parties in Santillan came to an agreement with the federal government. On January 25, 2008, the parties jointly moved to reactive the case and have it transferred to the Northern District of California to facilitate a settlement of both Padilla and Santillan on identical terms.
On February 25, the Court (Judge Hinojosa) granted their motion and the case was transferred to be consolidated with Santillan. On July 22, 2008, the California court approved a settlement for both cases; see the entry on Santillan, IM-CA-0003, for more details.Christopher Schad - 06/08/2012