University of Michigan Law School
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Case Name American Baptist Churches v. Thornburgh IM-CA-0006
Docket / Court 3:85-cv-03255-CAL ( N.D. Cal. )
State/Territory California
Case Type(s) Immigration
Case Summary
On July 7, 1985, religious and refugee service organizations and two individual undocumented aliens brought a lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California against various government officials, including the United States Attorney General Richard Thornburgh, ... read more >
On July 7, 1985, religious and refugee service organizations and two individual undocumented aliens brought a lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California against various government officials, including the United States Attorney General Richard Thornburgh, challenging prosecutions for harboring undocumented aliens. Plaintiffs contended that the defendants' application of immigration laws violated the First Amendment and equal protection. The Plaintiffs sought injunctive relief.

Defendants moved to dismiss the case.

In March of 1987, the District Court (Chief Judge Peckham) granted in part and denied in part defendants' motion to dismiss. The Court held that: (1) religious organizations had standing to allege that prosecution of religious sanctuary workers under criminal harboring and transporting statute violated First Amendment; (2) religious organizations' complaint that prosecution of religious sanctuary workers violated First Amendment stated cause of action; and (3) Central American refugee service organizations lacked standing to assert violation of Salvadoran and Guatemalan refugee's right to temporary refugee or discriminatory application of immigration laws. American Baptist Churches v. Thornburgh 666 F.Supp. 1358 (N.D. Cal. 1987). An amended memorandum and opinion was later issued. American Baptist Churches v. Meese, 712 F.Supp. 756 (N.D. Cal. 1989).

It is unclear from the docket what transpired from 1989 to 1990, but the case eventually settled. The District Court approved the settlement in January 1991. The Settlement Agreement defined a class of Salvadorans and Guatemalans who would be afforded de novo, unappealable asylum adjudication proceedings, which included a dispute resolution mechanism. American Baptist Churches v. Thornburgh, 760 F.Supp. 796)(N.D. Cal. 1991).

The PACER docket is incomplete, but it appears that post settlment activity continued through June 1999, when the Settlement Agreement was modified. No further activity is noted.

Miles Chan - 08/03/2007


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
General
International law
Immigration
Asylum - criteria
Asylum - procedure
Constitutional rights
Criminal prosecution
Deportation - criteria
Refugees
Temporary protected status
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), 8 U.S.C. ยงยง 1101 et seq.
Bivens
Defendant(s) Immigration and Naturalization Service,
United States Attorney General
Plaintiff Description Religious and refugee service organizations who challenged prosecutions for harboring aliens, including Salvadoran and Guatemalan refugees
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year 1999
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)
3:85-cv-03255-CAL (N.D. Cal.) 06/02/1999
IM-CA-0006-9000.pdf | Detail
General Documents
Opinion 03/30/1987 (666 F.Supp. 1358) (N.D. Cal.)
IM-CA-0006-0003.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Opinion 03/24/1989 (712 F.Supp. 756) (N.D. Cal.)
IM-CA-0006-0004.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Opinion 01/31/1991 (760 F.Supp. 796) (N.D. Cal.)
IM-CA-0006-0002.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Stipulation and Order to Modify Settlement Agreement 07/01/1999
IM-CA-0006-0001.pdf | Detail
Document Source: Non-web U.S. District Court Clerk's Office
Judges Legge, Charles A. (N.D. Cal.)
IM-CA-0006-0001 | IM-CA-0006-9000
Peckham, Robert Francis (N.D. Cal.)
IM-CA-0006-0002 | IM-CA-0006-0003 | IM-CA-0006-0004
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Blum, Carolyn P. (California)
IM-CA-0006-0001
Coliver, Sandra (California)
IM-CA-0006-0003 | IM-CA-0006-0004
Deale, Frank E. (New York)
IM-CA-0006-0002
Garrett, James J. (California)
IM-CA-0006-0001 | IM-CA-0006-0002 | IM-CA-0006-0004
Ginzberg, Abby (New York)
IM-CA-0006-0003
Guttentag, Lucas (New York)
IM-CA-0006-0001 | IM-CA-0006-0002
Hamm, Darryl L. (California)
IM-CA-0006-0002
Margolin, Ephraim (California)
IM-CA-0006-0003 | IM-CA-0006-0004
Morrison, Virginia (California)
IM-CA-0006-0002 | IM-CA-0006-0004
Schechter, Lori A. (California)
IM-CA-0006-0002
Smith, Debra A. (California)
IM-CA-0006-0001 | IM-CA-0006-0002
Stavis, Morton (New York)
IM-CA-0006-0002 | IM-CA-0006-0003
Van Der Hout, Marc (California)
IM-CA-0006-0001 | IM-CA-0006-0002 | IM-CA-0006-0003 | IM-CA-0006-0004
Yaroshefsky, Ellen (New York)
IM-CA-0006-0002 | IM-CA-0006-0003 | IM-CA-0006-0004
Zigler, Michael L. (California)
IM-CA-0006-0002
Defendant's Lawyers Bombaugh, Robert L. (District of Columbia)
IM-CA-0006-0001 | IM-CA-0006-0002
Dornell, Lisa (District of Columbia)
IM-CA-0006-0002
Gerson, Stuart M. (District of Columbia)
IM-CA-0006-0002 | IM-CA-0006-0004
Isgro, Francesco (District of Columbia)
IM-CA-0006-0001 | IM-CA-0006-0002
Killefer, Gail (California)
IM-CA-0006-0001
McGiven, William T. Jr. (California)
IM-CA-0006-0002
Mueller, Robert S. III (California)
IM-CA-0006-0001
Ogden, David W. (District of Columbia)
IM-CA-0006-0001
Russoniello, Joseph R. (California)
IM-CA-0006-0003 | IM-CA-0006-0004
Schirle, Stephen L. (California)
IM-CA-0006-0002
Uitti, Mary Beth (California)
IM-CA-0006-0002
Van Yzerlooy, Monique (California)
IM-CA-0006-0004
Wolfe, Andrew M. (California)
IM-CA-0006-0003 | IM-CA-0006-0004
Yeargin, Robert (California)
IM-CA-0006-0001
Other Lawyers None on record

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