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Case Name Tawfeeq v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security [dismissed] IM-GA-0008
Docket / Court 1:17-cv-00353 ( N.D. Ga. )
State/Territory Georgia
Case Type(s) Immigration and/or the Border
Presidential Authority
Special Collection Civil Rights Challenges to Trump Refugee/Visa Order
Case Summary
On January 30, 2017, a lawful permanent resident (LPR) of the United States, represented by private counsel, filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia. The complaint alleged that the plaintiff was held for questioning at Atlanta International Airport as he ... read more >
On January 30, 2017, a lawful permanent resident (LPR) of the United States, represented by private counsel, filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia. The complaint alleged that the plaintiff was held for questioning at Atlanta International Airport as he was trying to return to his home to Atlanta, solely due to the Executive Order issued by President Donald Trump on January 27, 2017 suspending entry into the United States of nationals of Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. The complaint further alleged that the defendants, in denying an LPR re-entry after a brief visit abroad, violated Fifth Amendment procedural due process rights, the Immigration and Nationality Act, and the Administrative Procedure Act. The complaint was filed as a petition for mandamus (directing inspection of returning LPRs under the INA rather than under the Executive Order) and a civil complaint seeking declaratory and injunctive relief.

The plaintiff was an Iraqi refugee who has worked for CNN since 2004 and currently is an International Desk Producer. He was based at CNN's Atlanta bureau and travels to the Middle East regularly for his reporting work. On January 29, 2017, after returning to the US from a trip to Iraq, he was detained and questioned at Atlanta International Airport, before being released. Represented by private counsel, the plaintiff alleged that he was therefore uncertain whether he may leave and re-enter the United States in the future, and that this is a substantial problem, because he travels often for his work.

The case was assigned to Judge Timothy Batten. On February 1, the plaintiff filed an emergency motion to expedite proceedings, arguing that the issues raised in the complaint are of immediate importance and could evade review if not expedited. On February 2, the court ordered the defendants to respond by February 8 to the plaintiff's emergency motion. On February 7, the government filed a motion to dismiss and on February 8 they filed a response in opposition to the plaintiff's emergency motion. On February 9, the plaintiffs filed an answer to the government's response, and February 10 Judge Batten denied the motion to expedite proceedings.

On February 17, the plaintiffs filed a motion to extend the response timeline to the government's motion to dismiss. On February 21, Judge Batten granted plaintiffs' motion for an extension through February 28.

On Feb. 27, the plaintiffs filed a response to the government's motion to dismiss the complaint as moot. The plaintiffs argued that executive documents issued to clarify the EO do not change the clear text of the EO, which is still binding and still purports to exclude all "immigrants" - including LPRs like the named plaintiff - despite the government's clarifying documents indicating otherwise. The plaintiffs further argued that, as the EO remains in effect and the defendants have therefore not yet established full voluntary cessation of their conduct, the EO falls under a mootness exception for conduct "capable of repetition yet evading review."

Prompted by adverse developments in the Ninth Circuit in Washington v. Trump, another litigation challenging the Executive Order, on Mar. 6, 2017, the President rescinded the Jan. 27 Executive Order and replaced it with a narrower one, Executive Order 13780.

On Mar. 9, the parties filed a joint motion to extend the reply and pretrial discovery timeline. The court granted this motion on Mar. 13. The parties now have until Mar. 23 to file a discovery plan and for the defendants to respond on their Feb. 7 motion to dismiss the complaint as moot.

On Mar. 21, the parties filed a joint motion to extend the reply timeline. On Mar. 22, the court granted the motion, giving plaintiff through Mar. 23 to file an amended complaint and giving the government 30 days from the plaintiff's filing date to respond. The court additionally allowed the government to withdraw its Feb. 7 motion to dismiss the complaint.

On Mar. 23, the plaintiffs filed an amended complaint challenging Section 1(g) (which applied greater scrutiny to Iraqi nationals during the visa issuance/U.S. admissions process) and Section 4 (which provides that applications for visa/admissions/any immigration benefit by Iraqi nationals should be "subjected to thorough review") of the second EO. Specifically, the plaintiffs alleged that no section of the EO removes Iraqi LPR's from the "additional scrutiny" and "thorough review" requirements, in violation of the INA, APA, and Fifth Amendment due process rights. The plaintiffs sought declaratory and injunctive relief, as well as a writ of mandamus instructing DHS to instruct its employees inspecting aliens at U.S. points of entry to exclude returning Iraqi resident immigrants from the new screening terms under the EO.

On Apr. 24, the government filed a motion to dismiss the amended complaint. On May 8, the plaintiff filed a response. On May 19, the government requested an extension of time to file a reply. The request was granted on May 22; the government replied on June 6. On June 28, the parties filed a motion to extend their timeline to file a joint report.

On July 7, the parties filed a joint preliminary report and discovery plan. On July 31, the parties noted their disagreement over the discovery deadlines, and discovery is now stayed pending the district court's ruling on the Apr. 24 motion to dismiss.

On Aug. 11, the judge granted the defendants' Apr. 24 motion to dismiss the amended complaint, finding that Tawfeeq lacked standing to challenge sections 2 (which does not apply to Iraqi nationals such as Tawfeeq), 1(g) (which the plaintiffs acknowledge would only apply to Tawfeeq if erroneously implemented, and the court will not presume that the law would be erroneously implemented), and 4 (which the court determined was too speculative to grant standing). Finally, the court determined that the revocation of the January EO rendered moot Tawfeeq's claims challenging its application to lawful permanent residents.

This case is now closed.

Ava Morgenstern - 02/22/2017
Julie Aust - 08/13/2017


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Right to travel
Discrimination-basis
National origin discrimination
General
Disparate Impact
Terrorism/Post 9-11 issues
Immigration/Border
Admission - criteria
Admission - procedure
Border police
Constitutional rights
Refugees
National Origin/Ethnicity
Arab/Afgani/Middle Eastern
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. §§ 551 et seq.
Bivens
Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201
Ex parte Young (federal or state officials)
Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), 8 U.S.C. §§ 1101 et seq.
Mandamus, 28 U.S.C. § 1361
Defendant(s) United States
Plaintiff Description Plaintiff is a lawful permanent resident (LPR) and Iraqi refugee who works as a journalist for CNN. He is based in Atlanta and travels to the Middle East regularly for his reporting work. On January 29, 2017, after returning to the US from a trip to Iraq, he was detained and questioned at Atlanta International Airport pursuant to the January 27, 2017 Executive Order, before being released. Plaintiff is uncertain whether he may leave and re-enter the United States in the future.
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief None
Source of Relief None
Case Closing Year 2017
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
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  Presidential Executive Order on Resuming the United States Refugee Admissions Program with Enhanced Vetting Capabilities
White House
Date: Oct. 24, 2017
By: United States (United States)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  Presidential Proclamation Enhancing Vetting Capabilities and Processes for Detecting Attempted Entry Into the United States by Terrorists or Other Public-Safety Threats
www.whitehouse.gov
Date: Sep. 24, 2017
By: President Donald Trump (Office of the President)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  Implementing Executive Order 13780 Following Supreme Court Ruling -- Guidance to Visa-Adjudicating Posts
Reuters
Date: Jun. 28, 2017
By: U.S. Department of State
[ Detail ] [ PDF ] [ External Link ]

  Presidential Memorandum for the Secretary of State, the Attorney General, the Secretary of Homeland Security, and the Director of National Intelligence
The White House
Date: Jun. 14, 2017
By: Donald Trump (White House)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  Executive Order Protecting The Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into The United States
Date: Mar. 6, 2017
By: President Donald Trump (President of the United States)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  Memorandum to the Acting Secretary of State, the Acting Attorney General, and the Secretary of Homeland Security
The White House
Date: Feb. 1, 2017
By: Donald F. McGahn II, Counsel to the President (The White House)
[ Detail ] [ PDF ] [ External Link ]

  Statement by Acting Attorney General Sally Yates
https://www.nytimes.com/
Date: 1/30/2017
By: Acting Attorney General Sally Yates (Department of Justice)
[ Detail ] [ PDF ] [ External Link ]

  Statement By Secretary John Kelly on the Entry of Lawful Permanent Residents into the United States
https://www.dhs.gov/
Date: 1/29/2017
By: DHS Secretary John Kelly (Department of Homeland Security)
Citation: https://www.dhs.gov/news/2017/01/29/statement-secretary-john-kelly-entry-lawful-permanent-residents-united-states
[ Detail ] [ PDF ] [ External Link ]

  OLC Memo Re: Proposed Executive Order Entitled "Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States"
Date: Jan. 27, 2017
By: Curtis Gannon (U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Legal Counsel)
[ Detail ] [ PDF ] [ External Link ]

  Executive Order: Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States
Federal Register
Date: Jan. 27, 2017
By: President Donald Trump (Office of the President)
[ Detail ] [ PDF ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
1:17-cv-353 (N.D. Ga.)
IM-GA-0008-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/11/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint for Declaratory, Mandamus, and Injunctive Relief [ECF# 1]
IM-GA-0008-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/30/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiffs' Emergency Motion to Expedite Proceedings [ECF# 5]
IM-GA-0008-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 02/01/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [ECF# 15] (N.D. Ga.)
IM-GA-0008-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 02/02/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [ECF# 24] (N.D. Ga.)
IM-GA-0008-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 02/21/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiff's Opposition to Defendants' Motion to Dismiss [ECF# 25]
IM-GA-0008-0005.pdf | Detail
Date: 02/27/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Joint Motion to Reset Deadlines [ECF# 27]
IM-GA-0008-0006.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/09/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [ECF# 28] (N.D. Ga.)
IM-GA-0008-0007.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/13/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [ECF# 31] (N.D. Ga.)
IM-GA-0008-0008.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/22/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Opposition to Motion for Leave to File as Amicus Curaie [ECF# 32]
IM-GA-0008-0009.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/22/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Amended Complaint for Declaratory, Mandamus, and Injunctive Relief [ECF# 33]
IM-GA-0008-0010.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/23/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiff's Opposition to Defendants' Motion to Dismiss [ECF# 37]
IM-GA-0008-0011.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/08/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Defendants' Reply in Support of Motion to Dismiss Second Amended Complaint [ECF# 40]
IM-GA-0008-0012.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/06/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [ECF# 46] (N.D. Ga.)
IM-GA-0008-0013.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/11/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Batten, Timothy C. Sr. (N.D. Ga.)
IM-GA-0008-0002 | IM-GA-0008-0004 | IM-GA-0008-0007 | IM-GA-0008-0008 | IM-GA-0008-0013 | IM-GA-0008-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Hampe, Carl W. (District of Columbia)
IM-GA-0008-0001 | IM-GA-0008-0006 | IM-GA-0008-0009 | IM-GA-0008-0010 | IM-GA-0008-0011 | IM-GA-0008-9000
Moser, Theresia Maria (Georgia)
IM-GA-0008-0001 | IM-GA-0008-0003 | IM-GA-0008-0006 | IM-GA-0008-0009 | IM-GA-0008-0010 | IM-GA-0008-0011 | IM-GA-0008-9000
Pierce, Daniel P. (District of Columbia)
IM-GA-0008-0001 | IM-GA-0008-0005 | IM-GA-0008-0006 | IM-GA-0008-0009 | IM-GA-0008-0010 | IM-GA-0008-0011 | IM-GA-0008-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Peachey, William Charles (District of Columbia)
IM-GA-0008-0006 | IM-GA-0008-0012
Readler, Chad A. (District of Columbia)
IM-GA-0008-0006 | IM-GA-0008-0012
Reuveni, Erez (District of Columbia)
IM-GA-0008-0006 | IM-GA-0008-0012
Wall, Sheetul Sheth (District of Columbia)
IM-GA-0008-0006 | IM-GA-0008-0012 | IM-GA-0008-9000
Westwater, Gisela Ann (District of Columbia)
IM-GA-0008-0006 | IM-GA-0008-0012
Other Lawyers Williams, Victor (Maryland)
IM-GA-0008-9000

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