University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Alfaro Garcia v. Johnson IM-CA-0077
Docket / Court 4:14-cv-01775 ( N.D. Cal. )
State/Territory California
Case Type(s) Immigration
Attorney Organization ACLU of Southern California
Case Summary
On April 17, 2014, a group of immigrants awaiting "reasonable fear" determinations (part of the process of seeking relief from deportation for people who fear persecution in their home country) filed this class action lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Northern District of ... read more >
On April 17, 2014, a group of immigrants awaiting "reasonable fear" determinations (part of the process of seeking relief from deportation for people who fear persecution in their home country) filed this class action lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California under the Administrative Procedure Act ("APA") and the Mandamus and Venue Act of 1962 against the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services ("USCIS"). The plaintiffs, represented by the ACLU of Southern California, the ACLU of Northern California, the National Immigrant Justice Center, and private counsel, asked the court for injunctive relief, claiming that USCIS is violating plaintiffs' rights under the APA and federal regulations. Specifically, plaintiffs claimed that USCIS does not conduct timely reasonable fear determinations, which are mandated to be completed within 10 days of referral to USCIS.

On July 17, 2014, the defendants moved to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(1) and (6), arguing that the named Plaintiffs' individual claims are now moot as all five named Plaintiffs have now received reasonable fear determinations, and that the 10-day period is "only a non-binding internal processing goal, not a mandatory deadline that confers enforceable rights on aliens." Plaintiffs filed their opposition on August 18, 2014, responding that the claims of the putative class are inherently transitory and strongly rebuking defendants' claims of the "aspirational" nature of the 10-day period.

On November 21, 2014, the Court denied the defendants' motion to dismiss, and further granted the plaintiff's motion for class certification. Settlement discussions then began, and on August 20, 2015, the Court approved a preliminary class action settlement pending a fairness hearing. On October 27, 2015, the Court approved the final settlement and attorneys' fees and costs of $327,047.66. Under the settlement, USCIS must meet a goal of making a reasonable fear determination with an average of 10 days, and not in excess of 20 days. The settlement also included provisions to ensure compliance; it was scheduled to last for 5 years after its approval.

Dan Whitman - 09/20/2014
Virginia Weeks - 10/25/2016


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Defendant-type
Jurisdiction-wide
Discrimination-basis
Immigration status
General
Government Services (specify)
Immigration
Asylum - procedure
Undocumented immigrants - rights and duties
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. ยงยง 551 et seq.
Mandamus, 28 U.S.C. § 1361
Defendant(s) U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
Plaintiff Description Putative class of individuals who are subject to removal; who have expressed, or in the future express, a fear of returning to their country of removal; and who have not received, or do not receive, a reasonable fear determination within 10 days of referral to the U.S.C.I.S.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations ACLU of Southern California
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
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
Order Duration 2015 - n/a
Case Closing Year 2016
Case Ongoing No
Docket(s)
4:14-cv-01775-YGR (N.D. Cal.)
IM-CA-0077-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/09/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief [ECF# 1]
IM-CA-0077-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/07/2014
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Defendants' Motion To Dismiss [ECF# 43]
IM-CA-0077-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/17/2014
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiffs' Response to Defendants' Motion To Dismiss [ECF# 54]
IM-CA-0077-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/18/2014
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Denying Motion to Dismiss; Granting Motion for Class Certification [ECF# 70] (N.D. Cal.)
IM-CA-0077-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/21/2014
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Approving Award of Attorneys' Fees and Costs [ECF# 132] (N.D. Cal.)
IM-CA-0077-0006.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/27/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Final Order Approving Settlement as Modified by the Court [ECF# 133]
IM-CA-0077-0005.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/27/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Rogers, Yvonne Gonzalez Court not on record
IM-CA-0077-0004 | IM-CA-0077-0005 | IM-CA-0077-0006 | IM-CA-0077-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Arulanantham, Ahilan T (California)
IM-CA-0077-0003 | IM-CA-0077-0005 | IM-CA-0077-9000
Carraher, Timothy R. (Illinois)
IM-CA-0077-0003 | IM-CA-0077-0005 | IM-CA-0077-9000
Iguina, Carmen G. (California)
IM-CA-0077-0003 | IM-CA-0077-0005 | IM-CA-0077-9000
Kaufman, Michael Bryan (California)
IM-CA-0077-0003 | IM-CA-0077-0005 | IM-CA-0077-9000
Mass, Julia Harumi (California)
IM-CA-0077-0003 | IM-CA-0077-0005 | IM-CA-0077-9000
Murphy, Christopher R. (Illinois)
IM-CA-0077-0005
Pingel, John Douglas (California)
IM-CA-0077-0001 | IM-CA-0077-0003 | IM-CA-0077-0005 | IM-CA-0077-9000
Prater, Joseph B. (Illinois)
IM-CA-0077-0003
Rolfes, James August (Illinois)
IM-CA-0077-0003 | IM-CA-0077-0005 | IM-CA-0077-9000
Roth, Charles G. (Illinois)
IM-CA-0077-0003 | IM-CA-0077-0005
Smith, David Z. (Illinois)
IM-CA-0077-0003 | IM-CA-0077-0005
Valenzuela, Claudia (Illinois)
IM-CA-0077-0003 | IM-CA-0077-0005 | IM-CA-0077-9000
Zhao, Jingni (California)
IM-CA-0077-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Delery, Stuart F. (District of Columbia)
IM-CA-0077-0002
Ginsburg, Douglas E. (District of Columbia)
IM-CA-0077-0002
Kisor, Colin A. (District of Columbia)
IM-CA-0077-0002
Mercado-Santana, Victor M. (District of Columbia)
IM-CA-0077-0002 | IM-CA-0077-9000
Nahas, Rebekah Antoin (District of Columbia)
IM-CA-0077-0002 | IM-CA-0077-9000
Quick, Erik (District of Columbia)
IM-CA-0077-0002
Stevens, Elizabeth Jones (District of Columbia)
IM-CA-0077-0002 | IM-CA-0077-0005 | IM-CA-0077-9000

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