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Case Name Sanchez v. U.S. Border Patrol IM-WA-0018
Docket / Court 3:12-cv-05378 ( W.D. Wash. )
State/Territory Washington
Case Type(s) Immigration
Attorney Organization ACLU Chapters (any)
Case Summary
Plaintiffs, individuals who allege they were stopped and interrogated by U.S. Border Patrol agents in the Olympic Peninsula without reasonable suspicion, filed suit under the Administrative Procedures Act against the Border Patrol on April 26, 2012 in the U.S. District Court for the Western ... read more >
Plaintiffs, individuals who allege they were stopped and interrogated by U.S. Border Patrol agents in the Olympic Peninsula without reasonable suspicion, filed suit under the Administrative Procedures Act against the Border Patrol on April 26, 2012 in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington. Claiming that the patrol officers were stopping vehicles solely due to the race/ethnicity of the occupants, Plaintiffs asserted that their Fourth Amendment rights were being violated, and that the officers were acting in excess of their authority under 8 U.S.C. §1357 and 8 C.F.R. §287.8(b)(2) (generally requiring officers to have a reasonable suspicion that an occupant of the vehicle is illegally present in the United States in order to stop the vehicle).

The Plaintiffs, represented by the ACLU of Washington and the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project (NIRP), asked the court for both declaratory and injunctive relief. Specifically, Plaintiffs requested that patrol officers be trained on what "reasonable suspicion" entails, and that the patrol office keep complete and accurate records of officer training and testing, as well as every vehicle stop. Plaintiffs also requested a master to oversee the implementation of these policies. Class certification is still pending.

In challenging the Border Patrol's interrogations of Plaintiffs without reasonable suspicion, Plaintiffs cite Nicacio v. INS (IM-WA-0011), in which the court stated it was unlawful for INS to stop vehicles occupied by persons of "Hispanic appearance" without particularized reasonable suspicion based on specific articulable documented facts. 595 F. Supp. 19, 26 (E.D. Wash. 1984).

Defendants filed a motion to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction on July 12, 2012. Defendants asserted that Plaintiff did not have standing and that there was no private cause of action under 8 U.S.C. §1357. Judge Benjamin H. Settle of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington denied this motion on August 27, 2012, stating that Plaintiffs were likely to suffer substantial and immediate irreparable injury (further stops without reason), and that Plaintiffs properly made a claim under the APA, 5 U.S.C. § 551, which provides a private cause of action. Sanchez v. U.S. Office of Border Patrol, No. 12-5378 BHS, 2012 WL 3715719 (W.D. Wash. 2012).

The parties then began settlement negotiations, and reached a settlement in September 2013. The case was voluntarily dismissed. The settlement agreement provided:
1) Border Patrol issued a letter to the ACLU of Washington and the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project acknowledging that reasonable suspicion is required for investigative stops, including near the border, and that Border Patrol is "committed to [comply] with applicable Department of Homeland Security guidance, including with respect to the use of race or ethnicity in law enforcement activities." (Oddly, the letter referenced 2004 guidance, rather than stricter 2013 guidance.
2) One refresher training session for Border Patrol personnel on the Fourth Amendment.
3) Every six months for eighteen months, CBP agreed to produce to plaintiffs' counsel Field Contact Data Sheets issued by agents at the Port Angeles, Washington Station, redacted to protect personal information.

Dan Osher - 03/09/2013
- 12/05/2014


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Equal Protection
Unreasonable search and seizure
Content of Injunction
Discrimination Prohibition
Required disclosure
Defendant-type
Law-enforcement
Discrimination-basis
National origin discrimination
Race discrimination
General
Failure to train
Racial profiling
Record-keeping
Records Disclosure
Search policies
Immigration
Border police
Constitutional rights
Detention - criteria
National Origin/Ethnicity
Arab/Afgani/Middle Eastern
Hispanic
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Race
Race, unspecified
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201
Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. §§ 551 et seq.
Defendant(s) United States Border Patrol
Plaintiff Description All persons using a vehicle on the Olympic Peninsula who have been or will be stopped, detained, or interrogated by Border Patrol, excluding person disembarking from the international ferry in Port Angeles.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations ACLU Chapters (any)
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Moot
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Voluntary Dismissal
Order Duration 2013 - 2014
Case Closing Year 2014
Case Ongoing No
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)
2:12-cv-734 (W.D. Wash.) 09/27/2013
IM-WA-0018-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Lawsuit Challenges Unconstitutional Stops and Interrogations by Border Patrol Agents on Olympic Peninsula 04/26/2012
IM-WA-0018-0001.pdf | Detail
Document Source: Plaintiffs' counsel
Complaint for Injunctive and Declaratory Relief (Class Action) 04/26/2012
IM-WA-0018-0002.pdf | Detail
Document Source: Plaintiffs' counsel
Order Denying Motion to Dismiss 08/27/2012 (2012 WL 3715719) (W.D. Wash.)
IM-WA-0018-0003.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Settlement Agreement 09/20/2013
IM-WA-0018-0005.pdf | Detail
Document Source: Plaintiffs' counsel
Stipulation and [Proposed] Order of Dismissal 09/24/2013
IM-WA-0018-0004.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Settle, Benjamin Hale (W.D. Wash.)
IM-WA-0018-0003 | IM-WA-0018-0004 | IM-WA-0018-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Adams, Matthew (Washington)
IM-WA-0018-0001 | IM-WA-0018-0002 | IM-WA-0018-0004 | IM-WA-0018-9000
Baker, La Rond (Washington)
IM-WA-0018-0001 | IM-WA-0018-0002 | IM-WA-0018-0004 | IM-WA-0018-9000
Dunne, Sarah A. (Washington)
IM-WA-0018-0001 | IM-WA-0018-0002 | IM-WA-0018-0004 | IM-WA-0018-9000
Garcia, Javier (Washington)
IM-WA-0018-0001 | IM-WA-0018-0002 | IM-WA-0018-0004 | IM-WA-0018-9000
Gellert, Nicholas Peter (Washington)
IM-WA-0018-0001 | IM-WA-0018-0002 | IM-WA-0018-0004 | IM-WA-0018-9000
Merriman, Steve (Washington)
IM-WA-0018-0001 | IM-WA-0018-0004 | IM-WA-0018-9000
Peters, Brendan (Washington)
IM-WA-0018-0001 | IM-WA-0018-0002 | IM-WA-0018-0004 | IM-WA-0018-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Belsan, Timothy Michael (District of Columbia)
IM-WA-0018-0004 | IM-WA-0018-0005 | IM-WA-0018-9000
Cohen, Rebecca Shapiro (Washington)
IM-WA-0018-0004 | IM-WA-0018-0005 | IM-WA-0018-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

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