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Case Name Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights (GLAHR) v. Alford IM-GA-0009
Docket / Court 1:16-cv-00757-WCO ( N.D. Ga. )
State/Territory Georgia
Case Type(s) Immigration and/or the Border
Attorney Organization MALDEF
Case Summary
On March 9, 2016, the Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights (GLAHR) and students within the University System of Georgia filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia. The plaintiffs sued the members of the Board of Regents for the University System of ... read more >
On March 9, 2016, the Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights (GLAHR) and students within the University System of Georgia filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia. The plaintiffs sued the members of the Board of Regents for the University System of Georgia for denying in-state tuition to undocumented students who had received deferred immigration action under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. They argued that the students were lawful residents of Georgia and that, as such, the state had created an unconstitutional two-tiered residency classification system. Plaintiffs sought injunctive and monetary relief under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, claiming violations of the Supremacy Clause and the Fourteenth Amendment Equal Protection Clause.

The defendants moved to dismiss the complaint on April 7, 2016. They argued that GLAHR lacked standing; the plaintiff’s official capacity claims were barred by the Eleventh Amendment and not cognizable under 42 U.S.C. § 1983; plaintiffs had failed to state a claim upon which relief can be granted; and the defendants had qualified immunity. In response, the plaintiffs amended their complaint on April 21, 2016, adding both plaintiffs and defendants to the lawsuit and maintaining their original causes of action. They also filed a motion for a preliminary injunction on May 3, 2016, seeking enjoinment of the University System’s classification system that had been classifying deferred action recipients as not lawfully present. The plaintiffs alleged that this system was irreparably harming the educational opportunities and career prospects of the deferred action students. The defendants moved to dismiss the amended complaint two days later. Judge William C. O’Kelley heard oral arguments regarding the motion to dismiss on August 25, 2016.

On February 10, 2017, defendants motioned to stay proceedings given a parallel proceeding in Dean Alford v. Rigoberto Rivera Hernandez. In that case, plaintiffs brought suit in state court against the University System of Georgia Board of Regents, arguing their denial of in-state tuition to DACA recipients violated the Board of Regents’ own policies and state statutory law concerning residency status. As that case had moved to the Georgia Supreme Court, defendants argued proceedings in this case should be stayed pending the outcome of that case.

On February 16, 2017, Judge William C. O’Kelley granted defendant’s motion to stay proceedings and denied without prejudice the plaintiffs’ motion for preliminary injunction and the defendants’ motion to dismiss. He explained both the parallel litigation in Dean Alford v. Rigoberto Rivera Hernandez and President Trump’s stated opposition to the DACA program justified the stay.

Following the stay, the defendants filed a motion to dismiss the first amended complaint on May 1, 2017. The plaintiffs filed another motion for a preliminary injunction on May 31, 2017. Defendants responded in opposition on June 13, 2017.

Subsequent to Judge O’Kelley’s decision, the Trump Administration announced its decision to rescind the DACA program.

On March 28, 2018, the District Court dismissed without prejudice the defendants’ motion to dismiss and the plaintiffs’ motion for a preliminary injunction. The Court stayed the case pending a decision from the Eleventh Circuit in Estrada v. Becker. In Estrada, students qualified to attend Georgia’s selective schools challenged the Georgia Board of Regents’ policy requiring Georgia’s three most selective universities to verify the “lawful presence” of students admitted. Under the challenged policy, applicants with DACA could not attend schools that did not admit all academically qualified applicants for the two most recent years. The District Court in Estrada had dismissed plaintiffs’ challenges that the policy violated the Supremacy Clause and the Equal Protection Clause.

On March 6, 2019, the Eleventh Circuit issued its decision in Estrada and affirmed the District Court. 917 F.3d 1298. It found the policy did not violate the Supremacy Clause because it was not an unconstitutional regulation of immigration and the policy was not preempted. Regarding the Equal Protection claim, it agreed with the District Court that the students were not similarly situated to other noncitizens permitted to attend because unlike the other noncitizens the DACA recipients did not have lawful status. Following the decision in Estrada, Judge Richard W. Story issued an order to show cause on March 12, 2019, asking the plaintiffs to demonstrate why GLAHR v. Alford should not be dismissed. In response, the plaintiffs voluntarily dismissed the case. The case was closed on March 28, 2019.

Bryce Freeman - 10/10/2017
Emily Kempa - 02/23/2021


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Benefit Source
DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals)
Constitutional Clause
Equal Protection
Supremacy Clause
Content of Injunction
Discrimination Prohibition
Discrimination-basis
Immigration status
General
Classification / placement
Disparate Treatment
Education
Funding
Language access/needs
Public benefits (includes, e.g., in-state tuition, govt. jobs)
Record-keeping
School/University policies
Immigration/Border
Legalization/Amnesty
Status/Classification
Undocumented immigrants - state and local regulation
National Origin/Ethnicity
Hispanic
Plaintiff Type
Non-profit NON-religious organization
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) University System of Georgia Board of Regents
Plaintiff Description Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights (GLAHR) and DACA students within the University System of Georgia.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations MALDEF
Class action status sought No
Class action status outcome Not sought
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Defendant
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief None
Source of Relief None
Filed 03/09/2016
Case Closing Year 2019
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
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  See this case at CourtListener.com (May provide additional documents and, for active cases, real-time alerts)
Court Docket(s)
N.D. Ga.
03/28/2019
1:16-cv-00757
IM-GA-0009-9000.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
N.D. Ga.
03/09/2016
Complaint [ECF# 1]
IM-GA-0009-0001.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
N.D. Ga.
04/21/2016
First Amended Complaint [ECF# 55]
IM-GA-0009-0002.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
N.D. Ga.
05/03/2016
Plaintiffs' Motion For Preliminary Injunction [ECF# 64]
IM-GA-0009-0003.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
N.D. Ga.
02/16/2017
Order [ECF# 94]
IM-GA-0009-0004.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
not recorded
09/05/2017
Memorandum on Rescission of DACA
IM-GA-0009-0005.pdf | External Link | Detail
U.S. Court of Appeals
03/06/2019
Opinion of the Court (917 F.3d 1298)
IM-GA-0009-0006.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Source: Google Scholar
N.D. Ga.
03/12/2019
Order [ECF# 115]
IM-GA-0009-0007.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Huck, Paul C. (S.D. Fla.) show/hide docs
IM-GA-0009-0006
Jordan, Adalberto Jose (S.D. Fla., Eleventh Circuit) show/hide docs
IM-GA-0009-0006
O'Kelley, William Clark (FISC, N.D. Ga.) show/hide docs
IM-GA-0009-0004 | IM-GA-0009-9000
Story, Richard W. (N.D. Ga.) show/hide docs
IM-GA-0009-0007 | IM-GA-0009-9000
Tjoflat, Gerald Bard (M.D. Fla., Fifth Circuit, Eleventh Circuit) show/hide docs
IM-GA-0009-0006
Plaintiff's Lawyers Begnaud, Mark Andrew (Georgia) show/hide docs
IM-GA-0009-0001 | IM-GA-0009-0002 | IM-GA-0009-0003 | IM-GA-0009-0006 | IM-GA-0009-9000
Castillo, Jorge Martin (California) show/hide docs
IM-GA-0009-0001 | IM-GA-0009-0002 | IM-GA-0009-0003 | IM-GA-0009-9000
Dominguez, Miguel A. (Georgia) show/hide docs
IM-GA-0009-0002 | IM-GA-0009-0003
Horsley, Nathanael A. (Georgia) show/hide docs
IM-GA-0009-0001 | IM-GA-0009-0002 | IM-GA-0009-0003 | IM-GA-0009-0006 | IM-GA-0009-9000
Lopez, Burth (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-GA-0009-0001 | IM-GA-0009-0002 | IM-GA-0009-0003 | IM-GA-0009-0006 | IM-GA-0009-9000
Sampson, Thomas G. (Georgia) show/hide docs
IM-GA-0009-0002 | IM-GA-0009-0003
Schoettle, Sarah (Illinois) show/hide docs
IM-GA-0009-0001 | IM-GA-0009-0002 | IM-GA-0009-0003 | IM-GA-0009-0006 | IM-GA-0009-9000
Viramontes, Victor (California) show/hide docs
IM-GA-0009-0001 | IM-GA-0009-0002 | IM-GA-0009-0003 | IM-GA-0009-0006 | IM-GA-0009-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Becker, Mark (Georgia) show/hide docs
IM-GA-0009-0006
Chalmers, Roger A (Georgia) show/hide docs
IM-GA-0009-9000
Dorman, Steve Michael (Georgia) show/hide docs
IM-GA-0009-0006
Gore, Deborah Nolan (Georgia) show/hide docs
IM-GA-0009-0006 | IM-GA-0009-9000
Huckaby, Hillary III (Louisiana) show/hide docs
IM-GA-0009-0006
Keel, Brooks A (Georgia) show/hide docs
IM-GA-0009-0006
Morehead, Jere (Georgia) show/hide docs
IM-GA-0009-0006
Orland, Devon (Georgia) show/hide docs
IM-GA-0009-9000
Peterson, G.P. (Georgia) show/hide docs
IM-GA-0009-0006
Pinson, Andrew Alan (Georgia) show/hide docs
IM-GA-0009-0006

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