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Case Name Northwest Immigrant Rights Project (NWIRP) v. Sessions IM-WA-0034
Docket / Court 2:17-cv-00716 ( W.D. Wash. )
State/Territory Washington
Case Type(s) Immigration and/or the Border
Special Collection Civil Rights Challenges to Trump Immigration Enforcement Orders
Attorney Organization Northwest Immigrant Rights Project (NWIRP)
Case Summary
On May 8, 2017, the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project (NWIRP) filed this lawsuit against the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington. NWIRP challenged the “cease and desist” letter it ... read more >
On May 8, 2017, the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project (NWIRP) filed this lawsuit against the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington. NWIRP challenged the “cease and desist” letter it had received from DOJ five weeks prior. The letter instructed NWIRP to stop assisting unrepresented immigrants in deportation proceedings. Specifically, EOIR chose to interpret its rule governing attorney misconduct to require that NWIRP either commit to full legal representation of every immigrant in removal proceedings it presently assists, or refrain from providing them any form of legal assistance (including brief consultations). NWIRP stated that this would deprive thousands of immigrants of the chance to consult with a lawyer. In addition to claiming that DOJ’s order violated the First and Tenth Amendments and seeking declarative and injunctive relief, NWIRP also filed a motion for a temporary restraining order (TRO). NWIRP alleged that the DOJ order infringed on the free speech of NWIRP lawyers by prohibiting their ability to screen, consult with, advise, or otherwise assist immigrants in need of legal services without taking each one on as a client. The case was assigned to Judge Richard A. Jones.

After hearing oral arguments, Judge Jones granted NWIRP’s motion for a TRO on May 17, 2017, and temporarily restrained DOJ from enforcing—or threatening to enforce—sanctions against NWIRP lawyers who consult with or offer limited services to pro se immigrants in deportation proceedings. Judge Jones further granted the TRO on a nationwide basis, precluding DOJ from issuing cease-and-desist letters to other non-profit organizations providing legal services to immigrants. The TRO was set to remain in effect until the Court ruled on NWIRP’s planned motion for a preliminary injunction.

NWIRP moved for a preliminary injunction on June 8, arguing that the TRO should be extended until there was a full trial on the merits. A hearing on the motion was held on July 24, and Judge Jones granted the preliminary injunction on July 27. The order stated that NWIRP was likely to succeed on the merits of its First Amendment claim because the government's regulation failed to meet strict and intermediate scrutiny. The Court wrote that "the Government may not regulate in a way that chills the ability of non-profit organizations to obtain meaningful access to the courts, especially when that access is sought to advance civil-rights objectives. In this context, the Government may regulate 'only with narrow specificity'... The Government has not done so in this instance." Further, the Court stated that "the Government has failed to advance any substantial regulatory interest, in the form of substantive evils flowing from NWIRP’s activities, which can justify the broad prohibitions which it has imposed."

DOJ filed a motion to dismiss on Aug. 4, arguing that the six-year statute of limitations for civil actions against the United States barred NWIRP's claims. DOJ further argued that NWIRP's First Amendment claim failed because "the immigration courts...are a nonpublic forum where the government is permitted to regulate speech in a reasonable and viewpoint-neutral manner." Finally, DOJ argued that the NWIRP's Tenth Amendment claim failed because EOIR rules prevail if they come in conflict with state rules "so that the agency can consistently regulate practice across the nation." DOJ also filed a motion to stay discovery pending the Court's review of its motion to dismiss, but the Court denied a stay on Sept. 18.

On Dec. 19, the Court granted and denied in part DOJ's motion to dismiss. The Court denied DOJ's statute of limitations claim, holding that the statute of limitations does not apply to a facial challenge of a law under the First Amendment nor was NWIRP outside of the statute of limitations on its Tenth Amendment claim. The court denied DOJ's request to dismiss NWIRP's First Amendment claim, finding that NWIRP successfully alleged its as-applied and facial challenges. The court dismissed NWIRP's Tenth Amendment claim. 2017 WL 6492703.

On Jan. 16, 2018, Judge Jones scheduled a bench trial starting Nov. 13, 2018. However, on Aug. 14, 2018, the Court granted the parties' stipulated motion to appoint a magistrate judge for mediation and to stay proceedings. The Court continued to stay proceedings as the parties negotiated, and finally, on March 28, 2019, the parties reached a tentative settlement agreement. The parties filed their settlement agreement with the Court on April 17.

As part of the settlement, the defendants will undertake a rulemaking process to amend the regulation at issue in this case. The parties also agreed to jointly seek a stay from the Court, which will then retain jurisdiction of this case during the rulemaking process. NWIRP agreed to dismiss their lawsuit if the defendants issue a final rule that is consistent with their requests to permit attorneys to consult with or offer limited services to pro se immigrants. The defendants also agreed to pay $380,000 in attorneys' fees and costs to the plaintiffs.

On April 18, the Court extended the stay in the case pending rulemaking until Jan. 17, 2020, at which time the parties will provide a status report to determine whether an additional stay is necessary.

Amanda Grill - 05/25/2017
Virginia Weeks - 12/28/2017
Jamie Kessler - 09/10/2017
Ava Morgenstern - 02/09/2018
Sam Kulhanek - 04/20/2019


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Freedom of speech/association
Content of Injunction
Preliminary relief granted
Defendant-type
Jurisdiction-wide
General
Access to lawyers or judicial system
Immigration/Border
Immigration lawyers
Plaintiff Type
Non-profit NON-religious organization
Causes of Action Ex Parte Young (Federal) or Bivens
Defendant(s) Department of Justice
Plaintiff Description Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, non-profit organization and Yuk Man Maggie Cheng, individual NWIRP staff attorney.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations Northwest Immigrant Rights Project (NWIRP)
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Preliminary injunction / Temp. restraining order
Attorneys fees
Source of Relief Litigation
Settlement
Form of Settlement Private Settlement Agreement
Order Duration 2017 - n/a
Filing Year 2017
Case Ongoing Yes
Additional Resources
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  See this case at CourtListener.com (May provide additional documents and, for active cases, real-time alerts)
  NWIRP v. Sessions
https://www.nwirp.org/
Date: Jul. 30, 2017
By: Northwest Immigrant Rights Project
[ 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 ]

  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)
2:17-cv-00716-RAJ (W.D. Wash.)
IM-WA-0034-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/18/2019
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Press Release
IM-WA-0034-0003.pdf | External Link | Detail
Date: 05/08/2017
Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief [ECF# 1]
IM-WA-0034-0001.pdf | External Link | Detail
Date: 05/08/2017
Motion for Temporary Restraining Order [ECF# 2]
IM-WA-0034-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/08/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Defendants' Opposition to Plaintiffs' Motion for Temporary Restraining Order [ECF# 14]
IM-WA-0034-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/11/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiffs' Reply in Further Support of Motion for Temporary Restraining Order [ECF# 21]
IM-WA-0034-0005.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/12/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [granting TRO] [ECF# 33] (2017 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 75433) (W.D. Wash.)
IM-WA-0034-0006.pdf | LEXIS | Detail
Date: 05/17/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Motion for Preliminary Injunction [ECF# 37]
IM-WA-0034-0007.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/08/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Declaration of Jorge L. Baron in Support of NWIRP's Motion for Preliminary Injunction [ECF# 38]
IM-WA-0034-0008.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/08/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Declaration of Jamie Drozd Allen In Support of Plaintiffs' Motion for Preliminary Injunction [ECF# 39]
IM-WA-0034-0016.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/08/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Defendants' Opposition to Plaintiffs' Motion for Preliminary Injunction [ECF# 47]
IM-WA-0034-0009.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/26/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Declaration of Print Maggard [ECF# 48]
IM-WA-0034-0010.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/26/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Declaration of Jennifer Barnes [ECF# 49]
IM-WA-0034-0017.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/26/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Declaration of Steven Lang [ECF# 50]
IM-WA-0034-0013.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/26/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Reply in Support of Motion for Preliminary Injunction [ECF# 52]
IM-WA-0034-0012.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/30/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Declaration of Elizabeth Benki [ECF# 53]
IM-WA-0034-0011.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/30/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Second Declaration of Jorge L. Baron in Support of Plaintiffs' Motion for Preliminary Injunction [ECF# 54]
IM-WA-0034-0015.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/30/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [granting motion for PI] [ECF# 66] (2017 WL 3189032) (W.D. Wash.)
IM-WA-0034-0014.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 07/27/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Defendants' Motion to Stay Discovery Pending Resolution of Their Motion to Dismiss [ECF# 69]
IM-WA-0034-0018.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/10/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiffs' Opposition to Defendants' Motion to Dismiss [ECF# 75]
IM-WA-0034-0021.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/28/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Defendants' Reply In Support of Their Motion to Dismiss [ECF# 77]
IM-WA-0034-0022.pdf | Detail
Date: 09/01/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [ECF# 79] (2017 WL 6492703) (W.D. Wash.)
IM-WA-0034-0023.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 12/19/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Notice of Settlement and Filing of Settlement Agreement [ECF# 109]
IM-WA-0034-0024.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/17/2019
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Jones, Richard A. (W.D. Wash.) show/hide docs
IM-WA-0034-0006 | IM-WA-0034-0014 | IM-WA-0034-0023 | IM-WA-0034-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Adams, Matthew (Washington) show/hide docs
IM-WA-0034-0001 | IM-WA-0034-0002 | IM-WA-0034-0005 | IM-WA-0034-0007 | IM-WA-0034-0012 | IM-WA-0034-0021 | IM-WA-0034-9000
Allen, Jaime Drozd (Washington) show/hide docs
IM-WA-0034-0001 | IM-WA-0034-0002 | IM-WA-0034-0005 | IM-WA-0034-0007 | IM-WA-0034-0012 | IM-WA-0034-0016 | IM-WA-0034-0021 | IM-WA-0034-0024 | IM-WA-0034-9000
Corning, James Harlan (Washington) show/hide docs
IM-WA-0034-0001 | IM-WA-0034-0002 | IM-WA-0034-0005 | IM-WA-0034-0007 | IM-WA-0034-0012 | IM-WA-0034-0021 | IM-WA-0034-0024 | IM-WA-0034-9000
Kang, Leila (Washington) show/hide docs
IM-WA-0034-0001 | IM-WA-0034-0002 | IM-WA-0034-0005 | IM-WA-0034-0007 | IM-WA-0034-0012 | IM-WA-0034-0021 | IM-WA-0034-9000
Madrid, Glenda Melinda Aldana (Washington) show/hide docs
IM-WA-0034-0001 | IM-WA-0034-0002 | IM-WA-0034-0005 | IM-WA-0034-0007 | IM-WA-0034-0012 | IM-WA-0034-0021 | IM-WA-0034-9000
Miller, Robert E. (Washington) show/hide docs
IM-WA-0034-0001 | IM-WA-0034-0002 | IM-WA-0034-0005 | IM-WA-0034-0007 | IM-WA-0034-0012 | IM-WA-0034-0021 | IM-WA-0034-0024 | IM-WA-0034-9000
Radosevich, Michele (Washington) show/hide docs
IM-WA-0034-0001 | IM-WA-0034-0002 | IM-WA-0034-0005 | IM-WA-0034-0007 | IM-WA-0034-0012 | IM-WA-0034-0021 | IM-WA-0034-0024 | IM-WA-0034-9000
Williams, Laura-Lee S. (Washington) show/hide docs
IM-WA-0034-0001 | IM-WA-0034-0002 | IM-WA-0034-0005 | IM-WA-0034-0007 | IM-WA-0034-0012 | IM-WA-0034-0021 | IM-WA-0034-0024 | IM-WA-0034-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Halaska, Alexander James (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-WA-0034-0024 | IM-WA-0034-9000
Mercado-Santana, Victor M. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-WA-0034-0004 | IM-WA-0034-0009 | IM-WA-0034-0018 | IM-WA-0034-0022 | IM-WA-0034-0024 | IM-WA-0034-9000
Peachey, William Charles (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-WA-0034-0004 | IM-WA-0034-0009 | IM-WA-0034-0018 | IM-WA-0034-0022 | IM-WA-0034-0024
Readler, Chad Andrew (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-WA-0034-0004 | IM-WA-0034-0009 | IM-WA-0034-0018 | IM-WA-0034-0022
Sheffield, Carlton F. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-WA-0034-0004 | IM-WA-0034-0009 | IM-WA-0034-0018 | IM-WA-0034-0022 | IM-WA-0034-0024 | IM-WA-0034-9000
Shinners, Katherine J. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-WA-0034-0004 | IM-WA-0034-0009 | IM-WA-0034-0024
Steffens Guzman, Gladys M. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-WA-0034-0004 | IM-WA-0034-0009 | IM-WA-0034-0018 | IM-WA-0034-0022 | IM-WA-0034-0024 | IM-WA-0034-9000
Westwater, Gisela Ann (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-WA-0034-0004 | IM-WA-0034-0009 | IM-WA-0034-0018 | IM-WA-0034-0022 | IM-WA-0034-0024 | IM-WA-0034-9000
Other Lawyers Ainsworth, Sara (Washington) show/hide docs
IM-WA-0034-9000
Chang, Robert S. (Washington) show/hide docs
IM-WA-0034-9000
Clinton, Laura K. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-WA-0034-9000
Connolly, John J. (Maryland) show/hide docs
IM-WA-0034-0018 | IM-WA-0034-9000
Cotton, Rachel F. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-WA-0034-9000
Cox, Sarah (Washington) show/hide docs
IM-WA-0034-9000
Davison, Zachary E. (Washington) show/hide docs
IM-WA-0034-9000
Ewart, Michael J. (Washington) show/hide docs
IM-WA-0034-9000
Greenberg, Benjamin D. (Washington) show/hide docs
IM-WA-0034-9000
Hajec, Christopher J. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-WA-0034-9000
Larsen-Bright, Shawn J. (Washington) show/hide docs
IM-WA-0034-9000
Lee, Melissa R (Washington) show/hide docs
IM-WA-0034-9000
Lo, Tzu-Huan Augustine (Washington) show/hide docs
IM-WA-0034-9000
Marquez, Patricio (Washington) show/hide docs
IM-WA-0034-9000
Miller, Steven Soloman (Washington) show/hide docs
IM-WA-0034-9000
Murphy, Andrew Garcia (Washington) show/hide docs
IM-WA-0034-9000
Stephens, Richard M. (Washington) show/hide docs
IM-WA-0034-9000
Theriot-Orr, Devin T. (Washington) show/hide docs
IM-WA-0034-9000

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