University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
new search
page permalink
Case Name L-R v. Johnson IM-DC-0022
Docket / Court 1:15-cv-00011 ( D.D.C. )
State/Territory District of Columbia
Case Type(s) Immigration and/or the Border
Attorney Organization ACLU Chapters (any)
ACLU Immigrants' Rights Project
ACLU National (all projects)
Case Summary
On Jan, 6, 2015, three Central American immigrant mothers and their children filed a class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), against the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and U.S. Immigration and Customs ... read more >
On Jan, 6, 2015, three Central American immigrant mothers and their children filed a class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), against the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Plaintiffs, represented by private and public interest counsel including the ACLU, sought certification of a class of all persons who had been or would be detained in ICE facilities; who had been or would be determined to have a credible fear of persecution in their home countries; and who were eligible for release, but had been denied such release pursuant to ICE's blanket "No-Release Policy."

In addition to class certification, plaintiffs asked the Court for declaratory and injunctive relief, claiming that the No-Release Policy violated the APA (as arbitrary and capricious), the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), and the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment (by denying plaintiffs individualized custody determinations, instead basing such determinations on a policy of deterring future immigration). Plaintiffs moved for a preliminary injunction the same day they filed their complaint.

On Feb. 20, 2015, the District Court (Judge James E. Boasberg) granted plaintiffs' motions for a preliminary injunction and provisional class certification, and denied defendants' motion to dismiss. The Court found that, although an across-the-board ICE policy aimed at denying all release to asylum-seeking Central American families did not exist, there was "ample support in the record" to find that DHS required ICE officers "to consider deterrence of mass migration as a factor in custody determinations, and that this policy has played a significant role in the recent increased detention of Central American mothers and children." The Court also found that this policy "contributed to the near universal detention of Central American families since June 2014." The Court held that plaintiffs had standing to challenge this policy, as they satisfied the requirements for class certification under the relation back doctrine.

In ruling on the merits of a preliminary injunction, the Court held that plaintiffs had a significant likelihood of succeeding on the merits of their claim, and stated that DHS's approach to detention did not comport with "traditional purposes" and was "poorly substantiated." The Court also held that plaintiffs were likely to face irreparable harm without injunctive relief; the public interest would be served by an injunction; and the government could not be harmed by an injunction ending an unlawful practice. R.I.L-R v. Johnson, 80 F.Supp.3d 164 (D.D.C. Feb. 20, 2015).

Though defendants at first asked the Court to reconsider the preliminary injunction, on May 13 they notified the Court that the government had announced it would stop invoking deterrence as a factor in family custody-determination cases. However, despite this policy change, the government maintained that the Court lacked jurisdiction over the case and that the challenged policy had been lawful.

After conferring with the parties, on June 29, 2015, Judge Boasberg dissolved the preliminary injunction (except for the provisional class certification) and administratively closed the case. Judge Boasberg specified that if defendants wish to reinstate a policy of considering deterrence, they must notify the Court. If this happens, plaintiffs may move to administratively reopen the case and request a reinstatement of the preliminary injunction.

This case is now closed.

Dan Whitman - 03/02/2015
Ava Morgenstern - 01/20/2018


compress summary

- click to show/hide ALL -
Issues and Causes of Action
click to show/hide detail
Issues
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Content of Injunction
Preliminary relief granted
Defendant-type
Jurisdiction-wide
General
Classification / placement
Confinement/isolation
Juveniles
Over/Unlawful Detention
Placement in detention facilities
Immigration/Border
Asylum - procedure
Constitutional rights
Detention - criteria
Detention - procedures
Family
Undocumented immigrants - rights and duties
National Origin/Ethnicity
Hispanic
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. §§ 551 et seq.
Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), 8 U.S.C. §§ 1101 et seq.
Defendant(s) U.S. Department of Homeland Security
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement
Plaintiff Description All persons who have been or will be detained in ICE family detention facilities; have been or will be determined to have a credible fear of persecution in their home country; and are eligible for release on bond, recognizance, or other conditions, but have been or will be denied such release pursuant to DHS’s blanket policy of denying release to detained families without conducting an individualized determination of flight risk or danger to the community.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations ACLU Chapters (any)
ACLU Immigrants' Rights Project
ACLU National (all projects)
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Prevailing Party Mixed
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Preliminary injunction / Temp. restraining order
Source of Relief Unknown
Form of Settlement Conditional Dismissal
Order Duration 2015 - n/a
Case Closing Year 2015
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
click to show/hide detail
  RILR v. Johnson
www.aclu.org
Date: Jul. 31, 2015
By: American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
1:15-cv-00011-JEB (D.D.C.)
IM-DC-0022-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/29/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Class Complaint for Injunctive and Declaratory Relief [ECF# 3]
IM-DC-0022-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/16/2014
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
First Amended Class Complaint for Injunctive and Declaratory Relief [ECF# 8]
IM-DC-0022-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/08/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum Opinion granting Plaintiffs' Motion for Preliminary Injunction; granting Plaintiffs' Motion for Provisional Class Certification; and denying Defendants' Motion to Dismiss [ECF# 33] (80 F.Supp.3d 164) (D.D.C.)
IM-DC-0022-0002.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 02/20/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Press Release [With Notice to the Court] [ECF# 40]
IM-DC-0022-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/13/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [ECF# 43] (D.D.C.)
IM-DC-0022-0005.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/29/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Boasberg, James Emanuel (FISC, D.D.C.)
IM-DC-0022-0002 | IM-DC-0022-0005 | IM-DC-0022-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Auerbach, Dennis B. (District of Columbia)
IM-DC-0022-0001 | IM-DC-0022-0003 | IM-DC-0022-9000
Balakrishnan, Anand V. (New York)
IM-DC-0022-0001 | IM-DC-0022-0003
Gilman, Denise (Texas)
IM-DC-0022-0001 | IM-DC-0022-0003
Kang, Stephen B. (California)
IM-DC-0022-0001 | IM-DC-0022-0003
Lahr-Pastor, Sonia (District of Columbia)
IM-DC-0022-0001
Levitz, Phillip J. (District of Columbia)
IM-DC-0022-0003 | IM-DC-0022-9000
Nash, Lindsay (New York)
IM-DC-0022-0001 | IM-DC-0022-0003
Pinon, Adriana (Texas)
IM-DC-0022-0001 | IM-DC-0022-0003
Rabinovitz, Judy (New York)
IM-DC-0022-0001 | IM-DC-0022-0003 | IM-DC-0022-9000
Robertson, Rebecca Lynn (Texas)
IM-DC-0022-0001 | IM-DC-0022-0003
Spitzer, Arthur (District of Columbia)
IM-DC-0022-0001 | IM-DC-0022-0003 | IM-DC-0022-9000
Tack-Hooper, Molly M. (Pennsylvania)
IM-DC-0022-0001 | IM-DC-0022-0003
Tan, Michael K. T. (New York)
IM-DC-0022-0001 | IM-DC-0022-0003
Walczak, Witold J. (Pennsylvania)
IM-DC-0022-0001 | IM-DC-0022-0003
Zionts, David M. (District of Columbia)
IM-DC-0022-0001 | IM-DC-0022-0003 | IM-DC-0022-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Fabian, Sarah B. (District of Columbia)
IM-DC-0022-0004 | IM-DC-0022-9000
Fresco, Leon (District of Columbia)
IM-DC-0022-0004 | IM-DC-0022-9000
Kelly, Wynne Patrick (District of Columbia)
IM-DC-0022-0004 | IM-DC-0022-9000
Machen, Ronald C (District of Columbia)
IM-DC-0022-0004
Mizer, Benjamin C. (District of Columbia)
IM-DC-0022-0004
Peachey, William Charles (District of Columbia)
IM-DC-0022-0004
Silvis, William C. (District of Columbia)
IM-DC-0022-0004
Van Horn, Daniel F (District of Columbia)
IM-DC-0022-0004

- click to show/hide ALL -

new search
page permalink

- top of page -