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Case Name Orantes-Hernandez v. Meese IM-CA-0039
Docket / Court 2:82-cv-01107-MMM-VBK ( C.D. Cal. )
Additional Docket(s) 07-56509  [ 07-56509 ]
State/Territory California
Case Type(s) Immigration and/or the Border
Attorney Organization ACLU Chapters (any)
ACLU National (all projects)
ACLU National Prison Project
ACLU of Southern California
National Immigration Law Center
NDRN/Protection & Advocacy Organizations
Case Summary
In 1982, a group of Salvadoran refugees filed a class action lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Central District of California, challenging practices and procedures of the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) in detaining, processing, and removing those seeking political ... read more >
In 1982, a group of Salvadoran refugees filed a class action lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Central District of California, challenging practices and procedures of the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) in detaining, processing, and removing those seeking political asylum from El Salvador. The plaintiffs alleged that the INS (1) used coercive tactics to cause Salvadorans to accept "voluntary departure" to El Salvador; (2) failed to advise them of their right to counsel, their right to apply for political asylum, and their right to a hearing prior to deportation; (3) denied them effective assistance of counsel and (4) detained them in solitary confinement without hearings. Represented by the ACLU Foundation of Southern California, the ACLU Immigrants' Rights Project, the National Immigration Law Center, and private firms, the plaintiffs claimed that the INS practices violated their due process rights and federal statutory law. They sought class certification and injunctive relief.

On April 30, 1982, the district court (Judge David Kenyon) certified a nationwide class and issued a preliminary injunction. Orantes-Hernandez v. Smith, 541 F.Supp. 351 (C.D. Cal. 1982). The preliminary injunction prohibited the INS from coercing class members into electing voluntary departure and required the INS to provide Salvadorans with two forms of notice of their rights. The preliminary injunction remained in effect while the district court held a trial on the merits of the case from 1985 through 1987.

Following the trial, in which the Court heard testimony and evidence from approximately 175 witnesses, the Court (Judge Kenyon) issued a permanent injunction that mandated specific procedures to be used by the INS when detaining, processing, and removing Salvadoran refugees. Orantes-Hernandez v. Meese, 685 F.Supp. 1488 (C.D.Cal. 1988). The government appealed and the Ninth Circuit affirmed. Orantes-Hernandez v. Thornburgh, 919 F.2d 549 (9th Cir. 1990). Judge Kenyon modified the permanent injunction in 1991 to add four conditions that applied solely to the Port Isabel Service Processing Center in Port Isabel, Texas.

The injunction remained in effect from 1991 through 2004. During that period, the federal government created the Department of Homeland Security, thereby consolidating and restructuring various governmental agencies involved with enforcement of immigration laws. As part of the restructuring, the INS was eliminated. The Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) of the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, which took over the care of unaccompanied minors in immigration custody, sought clarification of certain parts of the injunction. A stipulation was entered by the Court on September 28, 2004, clarifying the terms of the injunction as applied to the ORR.

About a year later, the government moved to dissolve the permanent injunction on various grounds. The District Court first heard the government's argument that the enactment of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 ("IIRIRA"), which provides for expedited removal of inadmissible aliens, was in conflict with the permanent injunction. Following argument and briefing by the parties, the District Court (Judge Margaret M. Morrow) modified two paragraphs of the injunction. Orantes-Hernandez v. Gonzales, 2006 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 95387 (C.D.Cal. Aug. 22, 2006 ). In December 2006, the parties briefed and argued the government's remaining grounds for dissolution of the injunction. On July 24, 2007, Judge Morrow issued an order refusing to dissolve most provisions of the injunction for substantial non-compliance. The Judge found that the evidence showed few if any violations regarding administrative segregation and legal presentations and, as such, determined that those provisions could therefore be terminated. On the other hand, the Court found a significant number of violations of the remaining critical provisions of the injunction, including those dealing with detainees' access to legal materials, telephone use, and attorney visits, as well as detention center conditions. Based on those continued violations, the remaining provisions of the injunction were ordered to remain in force. Orantes-Hernandez v. Gonzales, 504 F.Supp.2d 825 (C.D.Cal. 2007). On September 20, 2007, the government filed a notice of appeal to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

On September 24, 2007, the plaintiffs filed a motion to consolidate all the remaining provisions of the injunction in a single order to provide clarity and ensure compliance. The government objected that consolidation would constitute a material change, altering the posture of the case on appeal. On November 26, 2007, the District Court granted the plaintiffs' motion, stating it did not constitute a material change. The government appealed that decision as well. Under the modified injunction, the Court issued the following injunctions: (1) prohibition on use of coercion in advising asylum seekers on voluntary departure; (2) prohibition of misrepresentation of the meaning of political asylum and various procedures associated with it; (3) the government had to advise detainees of their legal rights, including the right to counsel and a hearing, and materials related to this case; (4) give notice to and access to interested parties and counsel; (5) restriction of the government's ability to transfer detainees; and (6) telephone access for the detainees.

On April 6, 2009, the Ninth Circuit affirmed both of the District Court's orders, making the decision to uphold a permanent injunction final.

On August 4, 2009, the plaintiffs filed a motion for attorney's fees. The court granted the motion on March 29, 2010, and awarded $1,343,888.02 in attorney's fees and costs. On May 11, 2010, the parties entered a joint stipulation in settlement of attorney's fees, which was approved on May 12, 2010. The government had to pay $986,967.54, which fully satisfied the Court's order for attorney's fees.

On July 10, 2014, prompted by the government's initial response to the large influx of unaccompanied alien children (UAC) and families—many from El Salvador—who had recently been apprehended along the United States border with Mexico, the plaintiffs filed an application for a temporary restraining order. The application sought to have the court order the government to give class counsel a weekly list of the names, ages, and genders of all class members detained at the Nogales Processing Center (the NPC) in Nogales, Arizona, and to allow class counsel to visit class members at the NPC so they could determine whether the government was complying with the terms of the injunction.

On July 17, 2014, the Court denied the plaintiffs' request for a TRO. The Court reasoned that the plaintiffs' application was not based on any underlying cause of action asserted in the case and did not seek injunctive relief related to the issues in the original complaint. Violation of class members' due process and First Amendment rights was a new claim. However, the Court concluded that there was evidence that the government might not be complying with the terms of the injunction, and thus, the class counsel was allowed to speak with class members to investigate further. The Court construed the plaintiffs' arguments as a motion to compel post-judgment discovery and granted it. The government was ordered to allow class counsel to interview 25 class members by no later than July 30, 2014.

The parties filed a joint status report on October 1, 2014, explaining that they were engaged in continued discussions regarding the plaintiffs' requests for additional site visits to ICE detention centers and other discovery requests.

As of October 29, 2018, there had not been any additional action on the docket.

Dan Dalton - 12/03/2007
Zhandos Kuderin - 07/24/2014
Sam Kulhanek - 10/29/2018


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Assistance of counsel (6th Amendment)
Due Process
Content of Injunction
Preliminary relief granted
Reporting
Defendant-type
Jurisdiction-wide
Law-enforcement
General
Access to lawyers or judicial system
Conditions of confinement
Confinement/isolation
Extradition
Juveniles
Law library access
Library (non-law) access
Phone
Placement in detention facilities
Totality of conditions
Immigration/Border
Asylum - criteria
Asylum - procedure
Constitutional rights
Detention - conditions
Detention - procedures
Immigration lawyers
Refugees
Plaintiff Type
Non-profit NON-religious organization
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action Ex Parte Young (Federal) or Bivens
Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), 8 U.S.C. §§ 1101 et seq.
Defendant(s) Attorney General of the United States
Immigration and Naturalization Service
United States Department of State
Plaintiff Description All citizens and nationals of El Salvador eligible to apply for political asylum who have been or will be taken into custody by agents of the INS and later the Department of Homeland Security.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations ACLU Chapters (any)
ACLU National (all projects)
ACLU National Prison Project
ACLU of Southern California
National Immigration Law Center
NDRN/Protection & Advocacy Organizations
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Preliminary injunction / Temp. restraining order
Attorneys fees
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Litigation
Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Filing Year 1982
Case Ongoing Perhaps, but long-dormant
Additional Resources
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Docket(s)
2:82-cv-01107-MMM-VBK (C.D. Cal.)
IM-CA-0039-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/01/2014
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
[Opinion] (541 F.Supp. 351) (C.D. Cal.)
IM-CA-0039-0002.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 06/02/1982
Source: Google Scholar
Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law: Permanent Injunction (685 F.Supp. 1488) (C.D. Cal.)
IM-CA-0039-0003.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 11/20/1990
Source: Google Scholar
[Appellate Opinion] (919 F.2d 549)
IM-CA-0039-0004.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 11/20/1990
Source: Google Scholar
Opinion (2006 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 95387) (C.D. Cal.)
IM-CA-0039-0011.pdf | LEXIS | Detail
Date: 08/22/2006
Source: LexisNexis
Opinion [Re: Alleged Facial Conflicts Between the Permanent Injunction and the Expedited Removal Statute] (2006 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 95388) (C.D. Cal.)
IM-CA-0039-0010.pdf | LEXIS | Detail
Date: 10/11/2006
Source: LexisNexis
Amended Order Granting in Part and Denying in Part Defendants' Motion to Dissolve the Orantes Injunction (504 F.Supp.2d 825) (C.D. Cal.)
IM-CA-0039-0001.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 07/24/2007
Order Granting Motion to Consolidate All Current Provisions of Permanent Injunction in a Single Order [ECF# 854] (C.D. Cal.)
IM-CA-0039-0005.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/26/2007
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Modified, Consolidated Injunction [ECF# 855] (C.D. Cal.)
IM-CA-0039-0006.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/26/2007
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Mandate [Affirming] [Ct. of App. ECF# 860] (321 Fed.Appx. 625)
IM-CA-0039-0007.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 01/07/2009
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Granting in Part Plaintiffs' Motion for Attorneys' Fees and Costs under the Equal Access to Justice Act [ECF# 877] (713 F.Supp.2d 929) (C.D. Cal.)
IM-CA-0039-0008.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 03/29/2010
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Declaration of Woody E. Lee in Support of Defendant's Reply in Opposition to Plaintiff's Motion for a Temporary Restraining Order [ECF# 891]
IM-CA-0039-0009.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/14/2014
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
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Judges Beezer, Robert R. (Ninth Circuit) show/hide docs
IM-CA-0039-0004
Farris, Joseph Jerome (Ninth Circuit) show/hide docs
IM-CA-0039-0007
Kenton, Victor B. (C.D. Cal.) show/hide docs
IM-CA-0039-9000
Kenyon, David Vreeland (C.D. Cal.) show/hide docs
IM-CA-0039-0002 | IM-CA-0039-0003
Morrow, Margaret M. (C.D. Cal.) show/hide docs
IM-CA-0039-0001 | IM-CA-0039-0005 | IM-CA-0039-0006 | IM-CA-0039-0008 | IM-CA-0039-0010 | IM-CA-0039-0011 | IM-CA-0039-9000
Schroeder, Mary Murphy (Ninth Circuit) show/hide docs
IM-CA-0039-0004
Schwarzer, William W (N.D. Cal.) show/hide docs
IM-CA-0039-0007
Vukasin, John P. Jr. (N.D. Cal.) show/hide docs
IM-CA-0039-0004
Wardlaw, Kim McLane (C.D. Cal., Ninth Circuit) show/hide docs
IM-CA-0039-0007
Plaintiff's Lawyers Arulanantham, Ahilan T (California) show/hide docs
IM-CA-0039-0010 | IM-CA-0039-9000
Barker, Timothy S. (California) show/hide docs
IM-CA-0039-0002
Edwards, Thomas (California) show/hide docs
IM-CA-0039-0002 | IM-CA-0039-0003
Hayward, Miriam (California) show/hide docs
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Holguín, Carlos R. (California) show/hide docs
IM-CA-0039-0002
Huerta, Alvaro M. (California) show/hide docs
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Joaquin, Linton (California) show/hide docs
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Kristovich, Stephen M. (California) show/hide docs
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Marmalefsky, Dan (California) show/hide docs
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Murphy, Emily Rose DiMento (California) show/hide docs
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Nash, Susan E. (California) show/hide docs
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Natarajan, Ranjana (California) show/hide docs
IM-CA-0039-0011 | IM-CA-0039-9000
Neville, Sheila K. (California) show/hide docs
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Newell, Jennifer Chang (California) show/hide docs
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Pearlman, Paula D. (California) show/hide docs
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Pettit, Sandra B. (California) show/hide docs
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Phillips, Bradley S. (California) show/hide docs
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Rosenbaum, Mark Dale (California) show/hide docs
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Schey, Peter A. (California) show/hide docs
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Stokely, Jeannette E (California) show/hide docs
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Tumlin, Karen C. (California) show/hide docs
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Van Der Hout, Marc (California) show/hide docs
IM-CA-0039-0002 | IM-CA-0039-0003
Weisz, Vera (Florida) show/hide docs
IM-CA-0039-0003
Wheeler, Charles Hammond (California) show/hide docs
IM-CA-0039-0003
Defendant's Lawyers Bolton, John R. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-CA-0039-0003
Bondy, Thomas M. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-CA-0039-0004
Bonner, Robert C. (California) show/hide docs
IM-CA-0039-0003
Brosio, Frederick M. Jr. (California) show/hide docs
IM-CA-0039-0003
Bybee, Jay S (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-CA-0039-0004
Evans, Richard M. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-CA-0039-0003
Fabian, Sarah B. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-CA-0039-9000
Fan, Ian (California) show/hide docs
IM-CA-0039-0003
Filppu, Lauri Steven (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-CA-0039-0002
Hausman, Allen W. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-CA-0039-0003
Lawrence, Victor M. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
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Nordin, John E II (California) show/hide docs
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Silvis, William C. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-CA-0039-9000
Thirolf, Eugene M Jr (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-CA-0039-0002
Travieso, Frank Michael (California) show/hide docs
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Other Lawyers Anker, Deborah E (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
IM-CA-0039-0004
Millar-Melnick, Laini (California) show/hide docs
IM-CA-0039-0004
Pope, Clara A. (California) show/hide docs
IM-CA-0039-0004

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