University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name United Food and Commercial Workers International Union v. Chertoff IM-TX-0023
Docket / Court 2:07-cv-00188 ( N.D. Tex. )
State/Territory Texas
Case Type(s) Immigration
Case Summary
This lawsuit is one of several cases arising from immigration raids conducted by federal authorities at Swift meat packing plants across the country. (See Valenzuela v. Swift Beef Company, Inc., No. 3:06−cv−02322−N (N.D. Tex.) [IM-TX-0019], and Swift & Company v. ICE, No. 2:06-cv- ... read more >
This lawsuit is one of several cases arising from immigration raids conducted by federal authorities at Swift meat packing plants across the country. (See Valenzuela v. Swift Beef Company, Inc., No. 3:06−cv−02322−N (N.D. Tex.) [IM-TX-0019], and Swift & Company v. ICE, No. 2:06-cv-00314 (N.D. Tex.) [IM-TX-0020]).

In this case, which was filed on September 12, 2007, the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) and several U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents sued the Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, challenging the Swift raids. Plaintiffs alleged that on December 12, 2006, federal immigration authorities raided six Swift plants and swept up about 12,000 meatpacking workers, thousands of which were Union members. Plaintiffs alleged that the warrantless raids were unlawful in that groups of workers were herded up and detained without any reasonable suspicion that the workers were aliens in violation of federal immigration law. Detained workers were not allowed to retrieve their immigration papers or speak to Union attorneys, and some were taken away without the chance to make arrangements for their children to be picked up from school or daycare.

The Union and individual members argued that the raids violated the Immigration and Nationality Act and deprived members of their Fourth and Fifth Amendment rights. Plaintiffs were represented by the Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law, union attorneys, and private counsel.

On September 12, 2007, plaintiffs moved to certify a class of "all persons subjected to group detention without warrant or a reasonable suspicion based upon articulable facts that they are immigrants unlawfully present in the United States in violation of the Immigration and Nationality Act during work-place enforcement activities conducted by [ICE] agents." Two months later, on November 13, 2007, defendants moved to dismiss.

After the Court (Judge Mary Lou Robinson) on March 25, 2008, denied a motion by more than thirty groups for leave to appear and file amicus briefs, there is an unexplained yearlong gap in the docket with no activity listed.

The next docket entry is on March 4, 2009, where the Court (Judge Robinson) denied plaintiffs' motion for class certification, finding that the proposed class was too vague to be supportable. Later in the year, on September 16, the Court (Judge Robinson) converted defendants' motion to dismiss into a motion for summary judgment, and invited the parties to submit briefs and any additional evidence.

Following several extensions and a discovery dispute, ending in the Court granting the defendants a protective order pending a ruling on defendants' qualified immunity, on March 11, 2011, the Court (Judge Robinson) granted the defendants' motion for summary judgment. United Food and Commercial Workers International Union v. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, 2011 WL 856937 (N.D. Tex. Mar. 11, 2011). The Court found that the Union lacked standing to bring suit, and that the individual plaintiffs lacked standing to claim injunctive relief, as a future invasion of a legally protected interest was unlikely. As to the individual plaintiffs' claims for damages, the Court granted summary judgment to the defendants on plaintiffs' unlawful detention claim because it found that ICE had acted reasonably in detaining them, on plaintiffs' access to counsel claim because their Sixth Amendment right to counsel had not attached and because there is no civil action for violation of Miranda rights, and on plaintiffs' childcare claim because it found that the amount of time plaintiffs were denied the ability to make arrangements for their children "was not disproportionate to what was reasonably necessary to process the large number of aliens detained."

The Court entered judgment for the defendants the same day, and ordered that plaintiffs pay defendants' attorneys fees.

Christopher Schad - 06/11/2012


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Immigration
Constitutional rights
Detention - conditions
Detention - criteria
Detention - procedures
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), 8 U.S.C. §§ 1101 et seq.
Bivens
Defendant(s) Department of Homeland Security
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement
Plaintiff Description All persons subjected to group detention without a warrant or reasonable suspicion that they were unlawful immigrants, during workplace enforcement activities by ICE.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Defendant
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief None
Source of Relief None
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year 2011
Case Ongoing No
Case Listing IM-TX-0020 : Swift & Company v. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (N.D. Tex.)
IM-TX-0019 : Valenzuela v. Swift Beef Company, Inc. (N.D. Tex.)
IM-CO-0008 : Yarrito v. Meyers (D. Colo.)
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)
2:07-cv-00188 (N.D. Tex.) 03/11/2011
IM-TX-0023-9000 PDF | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Original Complaint - Class Action Request for Injunctive and Declaratory Relief and Damages, Jury Demand on Damage Claims 09/12/2007
IM-TX-0023-0001 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Press Release: Workers Sue To Stop Mass Arrests And Detentions By Federal Agents 09/12/2007
IM-TX-0023-0002 PDF | Detail
Order Denying Motion for Class Certification 03/04/2009 (N.D. Tex.)
IM-TX-0023-0003 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum Opinion [Granting Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment] 03/11/2011 (2011 WL 856937) (N.D. Tex.)
IM-TX-0023-0004 PDF | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Robinson, Mary Lou (N.D. Tex.)
IM-TX-0023-0003 | IM-TX-0023-0004 | IM-TX-0023-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Holguín, Carlos R. (California)
IM-TX-0023-0001 | IM-TX-0023-9000
Liao, Gening (District of Columbia)
IM-TX-0023-0001 | IM-TX-0023-9000
Richard, Stephanie (California)
IM-TX-0023-0001 | IM-TX-0023-9000
Russ, Philip R. (Texas)
IM-TX-0023-0001 | IM-TX-0023-9000
Schey, Peter A. (California)
IM-TX-0023-9000
Wendel, Edward P. (District of Columbia)
IM-TX-0023-0001 | IM-TX-0023-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Atkinson, Theodore W (District of Columbia)
IM-TX-0023-9000
Bryant, D. Gordon Jr. (Texas)
IM-TX-0023-9000
Hollis, Christopher W. (District of Columbia)
IM-TX-0023-9000
Kline, David J. (District of Columbia)
IM-TX-0023-9000
Lawrence, Victor M. (District of Columbia)
IM-TX-0023-9000
Other Lawyers Hoffman, Timothy L. (Texas)
IM-TX-0023-9000

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