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Case Name Grassroots Leadership v. Texas Department of Family and Protective Services IM-TX-0041
Docket / Court D-1-GN-15-004336 ( State Court )
State/Territory Texas
Case Type(s) Immigration
Case Summary
On September 30, 2015, Grassroots Leadership (an Austin-based nonprofit that opposes private prison companies), two detainee mothers, and a licensed childcare service provider filed this suit in state court, in the 353rd Judicial District Court of Travis County, to prevent the state of Texas from ... read more >
On September 30, 2015, Grassroots Leadership (an Austin-based nonprofit that opposes private prison companies), two detainee mothers, and a licensed childcare service provider filed this suit in state court, in the 353rd Judicial District Court of Travis County, to prevent the state of Texas from licensing two family immigration detention centers, in which U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement was detaining mothers and their children.

The case's background is that in 1997, a settlement was reached in a federal civil rights suit, Flores v. Reno, 84-cv-04544 (C.D. Cal) (IM-CA-0002 in this clearinghouse), which provided that the detained minors detained by the U.S. as their immigration cases proceeded could only be housed in non-secure and licensed settings. In July and August 2015, District Judge Dolly Gee agreed with the Flores plaintiffs that the settlement applied to minors who were apprehended along with their parents, as well as to unaccompanied minors. Accordingly, Judge Gee held, the settlement barred long-term family detention in detention centers not licensed for children's occupancy by the state in which they were located. There were two such family detention centers in Texas, in Dilley and Karnes.

In September 2015, the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS), adopted an emergency regulation, which it claimed was authorized by Texas statute (Tit. 40, Pt. 19, Ch. 748, Subch. A, R. 748.7). This regulation allowed the state to issue childcare licenses to the detention centers. The plaintiffs in this case went to state court, claiming that DFPS lacked statutory authority to license the detention centers, which are run for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) by for-profit prison companies Corrections Corporations of America (CCA) and the GEO Group.

On October 22, 2016, DFPS sought to remove the case to the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas. It was assigned docket number 15-cv-00945 (W.D. Tex). However, U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks held there was no federal jurisdiction, because action arose under state rather than federal law. The case was accordingly remanded to the Texas state court.

Back in state court, the plaintiffs argued that the regulation was procedurally improper because no emergency existed. On November 20, 2015, Texas trial court judge Karin Crump agreed, and temporarily enjoined the regulation.

DFPS then reissued the regulation using the ordinary, non-emergency procedure, opening it up for public comment. It went into effect on March 1, 2016. Three days later, DFPS licensed the smaller of the two ICE detention centers, in Karnes.

The plaintiffs in this case continued to object to the regulation, however, arguing chiefly that it was beyond DFPS's statutory authority. They sought a temporary restraining order against licensure of the second, larger, Dilley detention center. On May 4, 2016, Judge Crump granted the requested temporary restraining order. The court stated that the plaintiffs had shown "a probable right to a declaratory judgment" that the regulation impermissibly exceeded the agency's statutory authority, and held that the temporary restraining order was necessary to preserve the status quo while litigation proceeded, to avoid irreparable harm to the plaintiffs.

A hearing was set for May 13, 2016; after hearing evidence, Judge Crump extended the temporary restraining order and set another hearing for June 1. At that hearing, she heard more evidence, and extended the order further. The final hearing was set for September 2016.

On June 3, 2016, Judge Crump issued a preliminary injunction.

On December 2, 2016, Judge Crump issued a final judgment. She held that DFPS's emergency rule violated Texas statutory standards for licensing residential childcare facilities. However, she also declined to grant plaintiffs' request for attorneys' fees. Judge Crump then issued an amended final judgment on December 16.

Defendants filed a notice of appeal on December 21, 2016.

This case is ongoing, but some documents for this case are not publicly available online. More information may be available at Grassroots Leadership's website.

Soojin Cha - 08/04/2016
Ava Morgenstern - 03/13/2017


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Content of Injunction
Preliminary relief granted
Defendant-type
Jurisdiction-wide
General
Classification / placement
Conditions of confinement
Juveniles
Placement in detention facilities
Placement in shelters
Sanitation / living conditions
Youth / Adult separation
Immigration
Detention - conditions
Family
Plaintiff Type
Non-profit NON-religious organization
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Non-government for profit
Causes of Action State law
Defendant(s) Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS)
Plaintiff Description Grassroots Leadership, a non-profit organization advocating against for-profit incarceration, on behalf of immigrants who were detained in family detention camps.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Preliminary injunction / Temp. restraining order
Declaratory Judgment
Source of Relief Litigation
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration 2016 - n/a
Case Closing Year n/a
Case Ongoing Yes
Case Listing IM-CA-0002 : Flores v. Reno [later Meese, Johnson, Kelly] (C.D. Cal.)
Docket(s)
1:15−cv−00945−SS (W.D. Tex.)
IM-TX-0041-9001.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/09/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D-1-GN-15-004336 (State Trial Court)
IM-TX-0041-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 02/17/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Petition
IM-TX-0041-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/26/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Rule 11 Agreement
IM-TX-0041-0005.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/26/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [Denying Removal] (W.D. Tex.)
IM-TX-0041-0007.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/03/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Temporary Restraining Order (Nov 20, 2015)
IM-TX-0041-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/20/2015
Source: Plaintiffs' counsel
Proposed Temporary Restraining Order
IM-TX-0041-0010.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/01/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Application for Temporary Restraining Order with Injunction and Brief in Support
IM-TX-0041-0011.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/03/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Second Amended Petition Seeking a Temporary Restraining Order and Declaratory Relief
IM-TX-0041-0012.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/03/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Temporary Restraining Order
IM-TX-0041-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/04/2016
Source: Plaintiffs' counsel
The GEO Group's Original Plea in Intervention
IM-TX-0041-0013.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/12/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Corrections Corporation of America's Plea in Intervention
IM-TX-0041-0014.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/12/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiffs' Responses to Defendants' Objections to Injunctive Relief
IM-TX-0041-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/27/2016
Source: Plaintiffs' counsel
Temporary Injunction
IM-TX-0041-0015.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/03/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Final Judgment
IM-TX-0041-0016.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/02/2016
Source: Plaintiffs' counsel
Judges Crump, Karin Court not on record
IM-TX-0041-0001 | IM-TX-0041-0002 | IM-TX-0041-0015 | IM-TX-0041-0016
Sparks, Sam (W.D. Tex.)
IM-TX-0041-0007 | IM-TX-0041-9001
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Doggett, Robert (Texas)
IM-TX-0041-0003 | IM-TX-0041-0004 | IM-TX-0041-0005 | IM-TX-0041-0011 | IM-TX-0041-0012 | IM-TX-0041-9000 | IM-TX-0041-9001
Wesevich, Jerome W. (Texas)
IM-TX-0041-0003 | IM-TX-0041-0004 | IM-TX-0041-0011 | IM-TX-0041-0012 | IM-TX-0041-9001
Defendant's Lawyers Brown, Jay W. (Texas)
IM-TX-0041-0014 | IM-TX-0041-9000
Deacon, Charles A (Texas)
IM-TX-0041-0013 | IM-TX-0041-9000
Holsinger, Kara (Texas)
IM-TX-0041-9001
Tulinski, Pat (Texas)
IM-TX-0041-0005 | IM-TX-0041-9000 | IM-TX-0041-9001
Other Lawyers None on record

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