University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name James Madison Project (Daily Beast) v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security NS-DC-0115
Docket / Court 1:17-cv-01281 ( D.D.C. )
State/Territory District of Columbia
Case Type(s) National Security
Special Collection Trump Administration FOIA cases
Case Summary
On June 29, 2017, the James Madison Project, Noah Shachtman, and Betsy Woodruff sued the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The James Madison Project (JMP) is an organization established in 1998 "to promote government accountability and the reduction ... read more >
On June 29, 2017, the James Madison Project, Noah Shachtman, and Betsy Woodruff sued the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The James Madison Project (JMP) is an organization established in 1998 "to promote government accountability and the reduction of secrecy, as well as [to educate] the public on issues relating to intelligence and national security." Noah Schactman is the current Executive Editor of The Daily Beast, and Betsy Woodruff is a politics reporter for the publication. Private counsel represented plaintiffs, who filed their complaint in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

Plaintiffs sought disclosure of agency records by DHS and its subordinate entities: the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Specifically, plaintiffs sought the disclosure of records clarifying the extent to which U.S. lawful permanent residents (LPRs) were coerced into surrendering their residency statuses, once DHS began implementing President Trump's Jan. 27 Executive Order 13769 but before DHS stopped enforcing it on Feb. 4. According to plaintiffs, lawyers for some travelers affected by the EO claimed their clients were, during this implementation period, pressured to sign I-407 forms surrendering their LPR status.

The complaint alleged that on Mar. 3, 2017, plaintiffs submitted a FOIA request to the defendant federal agencies seeking copies of records memorializing:
1. Instructions or guidelines – including verbal instructions memorialized in writing – provided to CBP officials with respect to agency practice for presenting I-407 forms to individuals impacted by the EO;
2. Communications between CBP officials – including verbal communications memorialized in writing – mentioning I-407 forms between Jan. 27 and Feb. 5;
3. Any documentation tabulating or calculating the number of individuals who signed I-407 forms between Jan. 27 and Feb. 5;
4. Copies of the actual I-407 forms signed between Jan. 27 and Feb. 5.

The complaint further alleged that, to date, the plaintiffs had not received a substantive response from any of the defendant agencies, and that the plaintiffs had constructively exhausted all required administrative remedies. The plaintiffs sought a disclosure order under FOIA, legal fees, and expedited action.

(Plaintiff James Madison Project also has two similar FOIA cases in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, summarized in this Clearinghouse: one by the Daily Beast against the Department of Justice (NS-DC-0106) and one by Politico against DHS (NS-DC-0107).

On June 29, the case was assigned to Judge James E. Boasberg.

On Sept. 7, the parties reported that USCIS and CBP were searching for records responsive to plaintiff's request and needed another month to prepare a list. After that time had passed, on Oct. 10, the parties reported the following: TSA had located no responsive documents; USCIS had located no responsive records for some requests and had withheld responsive records for other requests due to privacy; and CBP had located a few responsive records.

Judge Boasberg then ordered defendant (USCIS and CBP) to provide its first production of non-exempt portions of responsive records by Nov. 6 and its second production by Dec. 7.

On Nov. 6, the parties reported that defendants were following the schedule ordered by Judge Boasberg. The parties will file subsequent joint status reports every 60 days.

This case is ongoing.

Ava Morgenstern - 11/11/2017


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Discrimination-basis
National origin discrimination
Religion discrimination
General
Record-keeping
Records Disclosure
Terrorism/Post 9-11 issues
Immigration/Border
Admission - criteria
Admission - procedure
Border police
Constitutional rights
Status/Classification
Visas - criteria
Visas - procedures
National Origin/Ethnicity
Arab/Afgani/Middle Eastern
Plaintiff Type
Non-profit NON-religious organization
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. § 552
Defendant(s) U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Plaintiff Description The James Madison Project (JMP) is an organization established in 1998 "to promote government accountability and the reduction of secrecy, as well as [to educate] the public on issues relating to intelligence and national security." Noah Schactman is the current Executive Editor of The Daily Beast, and Betsy Woodruff is a politics reporter for the publication.
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief None yet
Source of Relief None yet
Case Ongoing Yes
Case Listing NS-DC-0106 : James Madison Project (Daily Beast) v. Department of Justice (D.D.C.)
NS-DC-0107 : James Madison Project (Politico) v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security (D.D.C.)
Docket(s)
1:17-cv-1281 (D.D.C.)
NS-DC-0115-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/06/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint [ECF# 1]
NS-DC-0115-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/29/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Joint Status Report [ECF# 7]
NS-DC-0115-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/10/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Joint Status Report [ECF# 8]
NS-DC-0115-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/06/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Boasberg, James Emanuel (FISC, D.D.C.)
NS-DC-0115-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Moss, Bradley Prescott (District of Columbia)
NS-DC-0115-0001 | NS-DC-0115-0002 | NS-DC-0115-0003 | NS-DC-0115-9000
Zaid, Mark S. (District of Columbia)
NS-DC-0115-0001 | NS-DC-0115-0002 | NS-DC-0115-0003
Defendant's Lawyers Drezner, Michael Leon (District of Columbia)
NS-DC-0115-0002 | NS-DC-0115-0003 | NS-DC-0115-9000

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