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Case Name Cities of Chelsea and Lawrence v. Trump IM-MA-0009
Docket / Court 1:17-cv-10214-GAO ( D. Mass. )
State/Territory Massachusetts
Case Type(s) Immigration and/or the Border
Presidential Authority
Special Collection Civil Rights Challenges to Trump Immigration Enforcement Orders
Case Summary
This federal lawsuit, filed by the cities of Chelsea and Lawrence, Massachusetts, on Feb. 8, 2017, challenged President Trump’s Jan. 25, 2017 Executive Order 13768, dealing with immigration enforcement, which threatened ... read more >
This federal lawsuit, filed by the cities of Chelsea and Lawrence, Massachusetts, on Feb. 8, 2017, challenged President Trump’s Jan. 25, 2017 Executive Order 13768, dealing with immigration enforcement, which threatened to withhold federal funds from "sanctuary jurisdictions" and take enforcement action against any locality that impedes the federal government's immigration law. The plaintiffs, represented by private counsel and the Boston Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Economic Justice, filed their complaint in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts.

The plaintiffs alleged that the Executive Order violated the Tenth Amendment by coercing cities to choose between losing federal funding and losing control of their municipal self-governance. The Executive Order does not include a clear definition of what it means to be a "sanctuary" jurisdiction, apart from referencing 8 U.S.C. § 1373, which provides that a local government entity cannot prohibit or restrict communication between government entities or officials and federal immigration authorities. The plaintiffs alleged their own compliance with § 1373, but complained first that § 1373 is unconstitutional, and second, that Executive Order threatened their funding without advance notice by unclearly extending beyond § 1373. The plaintiffs alleged that the U.S. had begun to designate certain cities as "sanctuary jurisdictions" and that Chelsea and Lawrence stood to be designated as such. In order to improve cooperation between immigrant residents and municipal police, Chelsea designated itself a "sanctuary city" and Lawrence took similar actions. The plaintiffs explained that they therefore feared being labeled "sanctuary jurisdictions" under the Executive Order and thus losing federal grants. As small cities with large working-class immigrant populations, the plaintiffs feared the implications of such a loss of key funding for their municipal budgets, including for public services that have nothing to do with immigration.

The complaint sought declaratory and injunctive relief. Specifically, the plaintiffs asked for a declaration that Chelsea and Lawrence comply with 8 U.S.C. § 1373, that § 1373 is an unconstitutional infringement on municipal and state self-government authority, and that the Executive Order violates the Tenth Amendment, and the Fifth Amendment's due process clause. In addition, they claimed that the Executive Order violates the separation of powers by penalizing § 1373 violations without Congressional approval.

The case was assigned to Judge George A. O'Toole Jr.

On Apr. 10, the defendants filed a motion to dismiss. The defendants argued that they have taken no action against the cities pursuant to the executive order and that the cities cannot show they have been injured by the existence of the EO.

Meanwhile, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California on April 25, 2017, granted a nationwide preliminary injunction against operation of the Executive Order. See San Francisco v. Trump for details.

On May 2, the plaintiffs moved to stay the proceedings in light of the nationwide preliminary injunction, and the court entered a stay on May 4.

The case is ongoing, but inactive while the stay remains in effect.

Ava Morgenstern - 02/12/2017
Virginia Weeks - 09/16/2017


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Federalism
General
Funding
Public benefits (includes, e.g., in-state tuition, govt. jobs)
Immigration/Border
Sanctuary city/state
Undocumented immigrants - rights and duties
Undocumented immigrants - state and local regulation
Plaintiff Type
City/County Plaintiff
Causes of Action Bivens
Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201
Ex parte Young (federal or state officials)
Defendant(s) United States
Plaintiff Description The plaintiffs are the small Massachusetts cities of Chelsea and Lawrence. The plaintiffs fear the loss of federal funding in response to their "sanctuary city" policies, under the January 25, 2017 Executive Order 13768, "Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States."
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief None yet
Source of Relief None yet
Case Ongoing Yes
Additional Resources
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  Memorandum on Rescission Of Deferred Action For Childhood Arrivals (DACA)
www.dhs.gov
Date: Sep. 5, 2017
By: Department of Homeland Security (Department of Homeland Security)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  Implementation of Executive Order 13768, "Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States
The Washington Post
Date: May 22, 2017
By: Jefferson Sessions (U.S. Department of Justice)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  Re: Implementing the President's Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements Policies (Final, 2/20/2017)
dhs.gov
Date: Feb. 20, 2017
By: DHS Secretary John Kelly (United States Department of Homeland Security)
[ Detail ] [ PDF ] [ External Link ]

  Re: Enforcement of the Immigration Laws to Serve the National Interest (Final, 2/20/2017)
dhs.gov
Date: Feb. 20, 2017
By: DHS Secretary John Kelly (United States Department of Homeland Security)
[ Detail ] [ PDF ] [ External Link ]

  Chelsea, Lawrence challenge Trump on sanctuary cities
https://www.bostonglobe.com/
Date: Feb. 8, 2017
By: Boston Globe (Boston Globe)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  Executive Order 13767: Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements
Federal Register
Date: Jan. 27, 2017
By: President Donald Trump (Office of the President)
Citation: 82 Fed. Reg. Presidential Documents 8793 (Jan. 27, 2017)
[ Detail ] [ PDF ]

  Executive Order 13768: Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States
Federal Register
Date: Jan. 25, 2017
By: President Donald Trump (Office of the President)
[ Detail ] [ PDF ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
1:17-cv-10214-GAO (D. Mass.)
IM-MA-0009-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/04/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint for Declaratory Judgment and Injunctive Relief [ECF# 1]
IM-MA-0009-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 02/08/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Defendants' Motion to Dismiss [ECF# 21]
IM-MA-0009-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/10/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiffs' Unopposed Motion to Stay Proceedings [ECF# 25]
IM-MA-0009-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/02/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges O'Toole, George A. Jr. (D. Mass.)
IM-MA-0009-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Blais, Elaine Herrmann (Massachusetts)
IM-MA-0009-0001 | IM-MA-0009-0003 | IM-MA-0009-9000
Burgess, Brian (District of Columbia)
IM-MA-0009-0001 | IM-MA-0009-0003 | IM-MA-0009-9000
Espinoza-Madrigal, Ivan E (Texas)
IM-MA-0009-0001 | IM-MA-0009-0003 | IM-MA-0009-9000
Fischer, Sarah J. (Massachusetts)
IM-MA-0009-0001 | IM-MA-0009-0003 | IM-MA-0009-9000
Friedman-Boyce, Inez H. (Massachusetts)
IM-MA-0009-0001 | IM-MA-0009-0003 | IM-MA-0009-9000
Hall, Sophia L. (Massachusetts)
IM-MA-0009-0001 | IM-MA-0009-0003 | IM-MA-0009-9000
Holland, Elizabeth (New York)
IM-MA-0009-0001 | IM-MA-0009-0003 | IM-MA-0009-9000
Lobel, Louis L. (Massachusetts)
IM-MA-0009-0001 | IM-MA-0009-0003 | IM-MA-0009-9000
Lu, Alexandra (Massachusetts)
IM-MA-0009-0001 | IM-MA-0009-0003 | IM-MA-0009-9000
Luz, Jennifer B. (Massachusetts)
IM-MA-0009-0001 | IM-MA-0009-0003 | IM-MA-0009-9000
Sellstrom, Oren M. (California)
IM-MA-0009-0001 | IM-MA-0009-9000
Sohn, Michelle (Massachusetts)
IM-MA-0009-9000
Wiesen, Daryl L. (Massachusetts)
IM-MA-0009-0001 | IM-MA-0009-0003 | IM-MA-0009-9000
Zimmer, David (California)
IM-MA-0009-0001 | IM-MA-0009-0003 | IM-MA-0009-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Buckingham, Stephen J. (District of Columbia)
IM-MA-0009-0002 | IM-MA-0009-9000
Readler, Chad A. (District of Columbia)
IM-MA-0009-0002
Sady, Michael P. (Massachusetts)
IM-MA-0009-9000
Tyler, John Russell (District of Columbia)
IM-MA-0009-0002
Weinreb, William D. (Massachusetts)
IM-MA-0009-0002

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