University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name American Immigration Council v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security IM-DC-0017
Docket / Court 1:11-cv-01971 ( D.D.C. )
State/Territory District of Columbia
Case Type(s) Immigration and/or the Border
Case Summary
On November 8, 2011, an immigrant rights advocacy organization filed this lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. § 552, and the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), 5 U.S. ... read more >
On November 8, 2011, an immigrant rights advocacy organization filed this lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. § 552, and the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), 5 U.S.C. §§ 701-706. The plaintiff, represented by the American Immigration Council and private counsel, sought declaratory and injunctive relief, claiming that DHS had failed to make a reasonable search for and disclosure of requested documents concerning individuals' access to legal counsel during their interactions with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. (The same day, AIC filed a similar lawsuit relating to a similar records request made to a different DHS component, U.S. Customs and Border Protection. For information on that one, see IM-DC-0018 in this Clearinghouse.)

On May 31, 2012, the defendant filed a motion to dismiss and for summary judgment, claiming that it had provided the plaintiff with "all non-exempt, responsive records in accordance with the FOIA."

On November 27, 2012, the district court (Judge James E. Boasberg) granted the motion to dismiss in part as to the second cause of action and denied it in part. Am. Immigration Council v. U.S. Dep't of Homeland Sec., 905 F.Supp.2d 206 (D.D.C. Nov. 27, 2012).

Th parties then negotiated a settlement, and the plaintiff filed a stipulation of settlement agreement and dismissal on March 15, 2013. The settlement agreement required the defendant to provide INS GC’s 1986 memo regarding a refugee applicant’s right to counsel, written training documents USCIS developed to implement a pertinent memo in 2011 (the December 21, 2011 interim memo) and in 2012 (the May 23, 2012 final memo). The agreement also required the defendant to conduct a search for records responsive to the plaintiff's FOIA request and produce to AIC all responsive, non-exempt documents. The defendant agreed to pay the plaintiff $45,000 in attorneys' fees and costs.

The court dismissed this case with prejudice.

Christopher Schad - 06/01/2012
Susie Choi - 03/16/2017


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Content of Injunction
Required disclosure
General
Access to lawyers or judicial system
Records Disclosure
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. §§ 551 et seq.
Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. § 552
Defendant(s) U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Plaintiff Description The American Immigration Council is an immigrant rights advocacy organization.
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Attorneys fees
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Voluntary Dismissal
Order Duration 2013 - n/a
Case Closing Year 2013
Case Ongoing No
Case Listing IM-DC-0018 : American Immigration Council v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security (D.D.C.)
Docket(s)
1:11-cv-01971-JEB (D.D.C.)
IM-DC-0017-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/30/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief [ECF# 1]
IM-DC-0017-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/08/2011
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Policy Memorandum
IM-DC-0017-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/21/2011
Policy Memorandum
IM-DC-0017-0005.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/23/2012
Memorandum Opinion [ECF# 22] (905 F.Supp.2d 206) (D.D.C.)
IM-DC-0017-0003.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 11/27/2012
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Stipulation of Settlement Agreements [ECF# 25]
IM-DC-0017-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/15/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Boasberg, James Emanuel (FISC)
IM-DC-0017-0003 | IM-DC-0017-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Crow, Melissa E. (District of Columbia)
IM-DC-0017-0001 | IM-DC-0017-0002 | IM-DC-0017-9000
Grant, Michelle S. (Minnesota)
IM-DC-0017-0002 | IM-DC-0017-9000
Magid, Creighton R. (District of Columbia)
IM-DC-0017-0001 | IM-DC-0017-9000
Werlin, Beth (District of Columbia)
IM-DC-0017-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Borum, Marian L. (District of Columbia)
IM-DC-0017-0002 | IM-DC-0017-9000
Machen, Ronald C (District of Columbia)
IM-DC-0017-0002
Vanhorn, Daniel F. (District of Columbia)
IM-DC-0017-0002

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