On May 25, 2011, three foreign residents of Indiana filed a class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, against the cities of Indianapolis and Franklin and the counties of Marion and Johnson. The plaintiffs, represented by the ACLU of Indiana, the national ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project, the National Immigration Law Center, and private counsel, filed their suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), 8 U.S.C. §§ 1101 et seq., and the Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201, claiming that Indiana’s Senate Enrolled Act 590 (SEA 590) violated the federal Constitution. Specifically, the plaintiffs claimed that Section 19, which allowed local law enforcement officers to make warrantless arrests of people who were subject to a removal order issued by an immigration court or a detainer or notice of action issued by the Department of Homeland Security, or who had been indicted or convicted of an aggravated felony, was preempted by federal law and constituted an unreasonable seizure under the Fourth Amendment and a violation of due process under the Fourteenth. They also claimed that Section 18, which made the use of consular identification cards for identification within the state a civil infraction punishable by fine, was preempted by federal law and in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment’s guarantee of due process. The plaintiffs sought a declaration that SEA 590 violated the Constitution and a peremptory injunction barring its enforcement before it came into effect on July 1, 2011.
On June 13, 2011, Mexico moved for leave to file an amicus on behalf of plaintiffs, and Brazil, Guatemala, El Salvador and Columbia moved to join it. The District Court (Judge Sarah Evans Barker) granted these motions on June 21.
In the meantime, the Court (Judge Barker), on joint motion from plaintiffs and county defendants, had issued an order to protect the privacy and confidentiality of any of the individual plaintiffs’ immigration status that might be implicated in discovery.
Following a hearing on June 20, 2011, on June 24 the Court (Judge Barker) granted plaintiffs’ motion for a preliminary injunction, barring enforcement of Sections 18 and 19 of SEA 590 pending further order of the Court. Buquer v. City of Indianapolis, 797 F. Supp. 2d 905 (S.D. Ind. 2011).
On July 14, 2011, the Court (Judge Barker) granted a stipulation by plaintiffs and county defendants that two classes should be certified: a class of people in Marion and Johnson Counties who were or would be subject to warrantless arrest pursuant to Section 19 of SEA 590 (Class A), and a class of people who possessed, or would possess, a valid consular identification card and were using it, or would use it, for non-fraudulent identification purposes (Class B). The court certified both classes and appointed counsel for them.
On October 11, 2011, the county defendants filed a motion to join the United States as a necessary party. The Court (Judge Barker) denied this motion on January 9, 2012. Buquer v. City of Indianapolis, No. 1:11-cv-00708, 2012 WL 76141, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 3047 (S.D. Ind. Jan. 9, 2012). The Court (Magistrate Judge Mark J. Dinsmore) also denied a motion by defendants to stay the case pending the Supreme Court’s decision in Arizona v. United States, No. 11-182 (IM-AZ-0015
), remarking that it was unlikely to be entirely dispositive of some of the unique issues presented by this case.
Meanwhile, plaintiffs had filed a motion for summary judgment on November 20, 2011, and the City of Indianapolis had filed a cross-motion for summary judgment on December 21.
On March 28, 2013, the District Court (Judge Barker) granted plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment. According to the order, defendants are permanently enjoined from enforcing Section 18 and Section 20 of SEA 590, as they are both violated the Supremacy Clause and the Due Process Clause. Because plaintiffs' suit was dependent upon enforcement of these sections, the matter was dismissed without prejudice.Christopher Schad - 06/19/2012