University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Dilley Pro Bono Project v. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement IM-DC-0030
Docket / Court 1:17-cv-01055 ( D.D.C. )
State/Territory District of Columbia
Case Type(s) Immigration and/or the Border
Attorney Organization American Immigration Council's Legal Action Center
Case Summary
On June 1, 2017, the Dilley Pro Bono Project, an organization that provides pro bono legal representation for individuals seeking asylum, brought this lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and its component agency, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The case was ... read more >
On June 1, 2017, the Dilley Pro Bono Project, an organization that provides pro bono legal representation for individuals seeking asylum, brought this lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and its component agency, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The case was assigned to Judge Christopher Cooper.

Dilley Pro Bono Project specifically provides legal representation to minors and women confined to the South Texas Family Residential Center, which is in Dilley, Texas. Plaintiffs claimed that their First Amendment rights and their clients' right to counsel were violated by a new Immigration and Customs Enforcement written policy, requiring pre-approval of telephonic medical evaluations of people seeking asylum. These medical evaluations are crucial for the plaintiff's ability to represent its clients in asylum cases and the new hurdle, they said, interferes with representation.

The incident prompting the lawsuit was that one of Dilley Pro Bono Project's attorney had her permission to visit at the Detention Center revoked when she scheduled a telephonic medical evaluation without pre-approval from an ICE agent. This incident occurred in March 2017; in May, ICE issued the policy challenged in this lawsuit and explained that her conduct several months before had violated that policy. As a result Dilley Pro Bono Project's attorney had her permission to visit detainees of revoked. This was critical to Dilley Pro Bono Project because at the time they had only two full-time attorneys and four full-time legal assistants. So, the restriction severely limited Dilley's ability to represent their clients.

The complaint alleged that the policy and practice unlawfully infringed on the Dilly Project's First Amendment rights of associating with the minors and women in the Dilley center and on those clients' ability to get adequate counseling. In addition, it alleged that the policy's issuance violated the Administrative Procedures Act.

The plaintiffs requested both a preliminary and a permanent injunction; they sought reinstatement of visitation rights for the attorney whose permission to visit had been revoked, and an order prohibiting ICE from enforcing the pre-approval policy or implementing other similar restrictions. And they asked for attorneys’ fees.

The parties entered into settlement discussions on August 11, 2017 and reached an agreement on August 15, 2017. The settlement still allows ICE to implement their policy but the time frame for responding to pre-approval requests for telephonic medical evaluations is limited to four business hours after the request is made. And a notice of scheduling the appointment should be given two hours in advance. If the request is denied, ICE will provide a detailed explanation for the denial. If the plaintiffs disagree with the decision, then the parties will address jointly and informally any such dispute. In addition, the settlement reinstates the visitation license for the attorney who had that license revoked. (Each party must pay for their own attorneys fees.)

The Court retained jurisdiction to enforce the settlement for 30 months. That period is still running.

Sean Whetstone - 05/16/2018


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Freedom of speech/association
General
Access to lawyers or judicial system
Counseling
Quality of representation
Immigration/Border
Asylum - procedure
Constitutional rights
Deportation - procedure
Immigration lawyers
Plaintiff Type
Non-profit NON-religious organization
Type of Facility
Non-government for profit
Causes of Action Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. §§ 551 et seq.
Bivens
Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201
Defendant(s) United States
United States
Plaintiff Description Plaintiffs are the Dilley Pro Bono Project. This organization represents minors and women in the South Texas Family Residential Center.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations American Immigration Council's Legal Action Center
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration 2017 - 2020
Filing Year 2017
Case Ongoing Yes
Additional Resources
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  Challenging ICE Interference with Legal Representation at Dilley
American Immigration Council
Date: August 2017
By: American Immigration Council
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
1:17-cv-1055 (D.D.C.)
IM-DC-0030-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/16/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief [ECF# 1]
IM-DC-0030-0006.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/01/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Application for a Preliminary Injunction [ECF# 2]
IM-DC-0030-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/01/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Notice of Settlement [ECF# 25]
IM-DC-0030-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/11/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Joint Motion for Entry of Stipulation and Proposed Order Dismissing Case with Prejudice and Retaining Jurisdiction for the Purpose of Enforcing Settlement [ECF# 26]
IM-DC-0030-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/15/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Stipulation and Proposed Order Dismissing Case with Prejudice and Retaining Jurisdiction for the Purpose of Enforcing Settlement [ECF# 26-1]
IM-DC-0030-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/15/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Stipulation and Order Dismissing Case With Prejudice and Retaining Jurisdiction for the Purpose of Settlement [ECF# 27] (D.D.C.)
IM-DC-0030-0005.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/16/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Cooper, Christopher Reid (D.D.C.)
IM-DC-0030-0005 | IM-DC-0030-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Crow, Melissa E. (District of Columbia)
IM-DC-0030-0001 | IM-DC-0030-0002 | IM-DC-0030-0003 | IM-DC-0030-0004 | IM-DC-0030-0005 | IM-DC-0030-0006 | IM-DC-0030-9000
Davidoff, Amanda Flug (District of Columbia)
IM-DC-0030-0001 | IM-DC-0030-0002 | IM-DC-0030-0003 | IM-DC-0030-0004 | IM-DC-0030-0005 | IM-DC-0030-0006 | IM-DC-0030-9000
Ip, Veronica W. (New York)
IM-DC-0030-0001 | IM-DC-0030-0002 | IM-DC-0030-0003 | IM-DC-0030-0004 | IM-DC-0030-0005 | IM-DC-0030-0006 | IM-DC-0030-9000
Klapper, Richard H. (New York)
IM-DC-0030-0001 | IM-DC-0030-0002 | IM-DC-0030-0003 | IM-DC-0030-0004 | IM-DC-0030-0005 | IM-DC-0030-0006 | IM-DC-0030-9000
Lallinger, Lucas (District of Columbia)
IM-DC-0030-0001 | IM-DC-0030-0002 | IM-DC-0030-0003 | IM-DC-0030-0004 | IM-DC-0030-0005 | IM-DC-0030-0006
Scholtz, Rebecca H. (Maryland)
IM-DC-0030-0001 | IM-DC-0030-0002 | IM-DC-0030-0003 | IM-DC-0030-0004 | IM-DC-0030-0005 | IM-DC-0030-0006 | IM-DC-0030-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Fabian, Sarah B. (District of Columbia)
IM-DC-0030-0002 | IM-DC-0030-9000
Peachey, William Charles (District of Columbia)
IM-DC-0030-0002
Perez, Elianis N. (District of Columbia)
IM-DC-0030-0002 | IM-DC-0030-0003 | IM-DC-0030-0004 | IM-DC-0030-0005 | IM-DC-0030-9000
Readler, Chad A. (District of Columbia)
IM-DC-0030-0002
Silvis, William C. (District of Columbia)
IM-DC-0030-0002
Vuong, Sarah Lake (District of Columbia)
IM-DC-0030-0002

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