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Case Name City of Philadelphia v. Sessions IM-PA-0015
Docket / Court 2:17-cv-03894-MMB ( E.D. Pa. )
State/Territory Pennsylvania
Case Type(s) Immigration and/or the Border
Special Collection Civil Rights Challenges to Trump Immigration Enforcement Orders
Case Summary
This lawsuit, filed by the city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on August 30, 2017, challenged U.S. Attorney General Sessions' imposition of immigration-related conditions on federal funding to the city. The plaintiff, represented by private counsel, filed its complaint in the U.S. District Court for ... read more >
This lawsuit, filed by the city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on August 30, 2017, challenged U.S. Attorney General Sessions' imposition of immigration-related conditions on federal funding to the city. The plaintiff, represented by private counsel, filed its complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

In its complaint, the plaintiff alleged that the defendant was pursuing the federal government's anti-"sanctuary city" policy by new but still unlawful means. Since the narrowing (in Santa Clara) of President Trump’s January 25, 2017 Executive Order 13768, the President's ability to place new immigration-related conditions on federal funds was now more limited. Subsequently, the defendant threatened to withhold critical federal law enforcement funding, the Byrne JAG Program, from cities, including to the plaintiff, that would not certify compliance with 8 U.S.C. § 1373. (This section provided that a local government entity could not prohibit or restrict communication between government entities or officials and federal immigration authorities.)

The plaintiff alleged its own compliance with § 1373, explaining that its agents did not collect immigration status information in the first place, and as a result, the city was in no position to share or restrict the sharing of information it simply did not have. However, Philadelphia's policies allowed local law enforcement to cooperate with federal authorities and to share identifying information about criminal suspects in the city. The plaintiff further noted that its policies sought to foster trust between Philadelphia's vibrant immigrant population and the city's officials and employees. The plaintiff contended that it had, for years, prohibited its officers from asking individuals about their immigration status, and that its community policing and safe city standards functioned best "without the city's active involvement in the enforcement of federal immigration law." The plaintiff further noted that it relied upon the funding supplied by the Byrne JAG program to support critical criminal justice programming in the city, including funding the PPD, District Attorney's Office, and local court system.

The plaintiff contended that in the DOJ's July 25, 2017 press release, as the plaintiff interpreted it, the defendant placed three conditions upon the receipt of any Byrne JAG funds in FY 2017: Philadelphia must 1) certify that the City complied with § 1373; 2) permit DHS officials to access "any detention facility" in Philadelphia in order to meet with any persons of interest to DHS; and 3) provide at least 48 hours' advance notice to DHS regarding the "scheduled release date and time" of an inmate for whom DHS requests such advance notice.

The plaintiff alleged that the defendant lacked constitutional or statutory authority to place the above conditions on the Byrne JAG program. Statutorily, the plaintiff argued that the Byrnes JAG statute did not grant the defendant the authority to impose these conditions. Constitutionally, the plaintiff argued that the defendant was usurping the authority both of Congress to spend funds, and of state and local governments to administer their own law enforcement.

The complaint sought declaratory and injunctive relief. Specifically, the plaintiff asked for a declaration that it complied with § 1373 and that defendant's immigration-related conditions on Byrne JAG funding were unconstitutional. The plaintiff sought an injunction enjoining the defendant from imposing these conditions.

On September 12, the court (Judge Michael M. Baylson) ordered the defendant to answer, plead, or otherwise move in response to the complaint by no later than October 13.

On September 28, Philadelphia moved for a Preliminary Injunction. Philadelphia sought a declaration that the DOJ's imposition of the new conditions to Byrne JAG funding was unlawful, that the action is contrary to federal statute and to the Constitution's separation of powers, that Congress would have violated the Spending Clause in permitting the AG's action, and that Philadelphia was in full compliance with Section 1373 (to the extent that compliance with Section 1373 could be made an applicable condition to the receipt of Byrne JAG funds). Philadelphia also requested that the court permanently enjoin the DOJ from imposing the aforementioned three conditions in conjunction with the Byrne JAG application, as well as any future grants under the Byrne JAG program.

On September 29, the parties met before Judge Baylson. Judge Baylson stayed the court's prior briefing dates and ordered the following schedule: the defendant shall file a response to the Preliminary Injunction motion by October 12, and oral argument would take place on October 26. All amicus briefs were to be filed no later than October 19.

On October 12, the government filed its opposition to the Preliminary Injunction motion. The government noted that Philadelphia's policies were frustrating the federal government's ability to remove criminal aliens from the country. The DOJ also noted that it had long imposed conditions on federal grant funds to aid law enforcement, including on the Byrne JAG program, and that Philadelphia's position would allow the City, not the DOJ, to determine the conditions associated with a federal grant that Congress had authorized the DOJ to award. The city replied on October 19.

On October 19, a number of cities, legal scholars, and social/legal service organizations filed amicus briefs in support of the PI motion.

The court heard oral argument on the Preliminary Injunction motion on November 2. The parties filed their memos in support and in opposition on November 9. On Nov. 15, the court, in finding that Philadelphia demonstrated a likelihood of success on its claim that it substantially complies with Section 1373 and enjoining the DOJ from rejecting Philadelphia's FY 2017 application for Byrne JAG funding, issued an opinion finding that Philadelphia "is not a 'sanctuary city' - if that term means that there are any policies that would prevent or inhibit the investigation, arrest, prosecution, and sentencing of aliens."

This case is ongoing. A pretrial conference is set for Dec. 20.

Julie Aust - 12/04/2017


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Federalism
Defendant-type
Jurisdiction-wide
Law-enforcement
Discrimination-basis
Immigration status
General
Funding
Public assistance grants
Records Disclosure
Search policies
Terrorism/Post 9-11 issues
Immigration/Border
Deportation - procedure
Detention - procedures
ICE/DHS/INS raid
Undocumented immigrants - state and local regulation
Plaintiff Type
City/County Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. §§ 551 et seq.
Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201
Defendant(s) United States Attorney General
Plaintiff Description The City of Philadelphia
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
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 ]

  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-3894 (E.D. Pa.)
IM-PA-0015-9001.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/21/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint For Declaratory and Injunctive Relief [ECF# 1]
IM-PA-0015-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/30/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiff's Motion For Preliminary Injunction [ECF# 21]
IM-PA-0015-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 09/28/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum In Opposition to Plaintiff's Motion For Preliminary Injunction [ECF# 28]
IM-PA-0015-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/12/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Reply in Support of Motion for Preliminary Injunction [ECF# 46]
IM-PA-0015-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/19/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Brief of Philadelphia Social and Legal Services Organizations as Amici Curiae in Support of Plaintiff's Motion for Preliminary Injunction [ECF# 49]
IM-PA-0015-0005.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/19/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Motion of Administrative Law, Constitutional Law, and Immigration Law Scholars for Leave to File an Amici Curiae Brief IN SUPPORT OF PLAINTIFF’S MOTION FOR A PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION [ECF# 50]
IM-PA-0015-0006.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/19/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Exhibit Attachment Letter [ECF# 61-1]
IM-PA-0015-0007.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/27/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiff's Proposed Findings of Fact In Support of Motion For Preliminary Injunction [ECF# 65]
IM-PA-0015-0008.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/01/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Defendant's Supplemental Brief in Opposition to Plaintiff's Motion For Preliminary Injunction [ECF# 70]
IM-PA-0015-0009.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/09/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiff's Supplemental Brief In Support of Motion For Preliminary Injunction [ECF# 71]
IM-PA-0015-0010.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/09/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Re: Pending Motion for Preliminary Injunction [ECF# 75] (E.D. Pa.)
IM-PA-0015-0011.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/15/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [ECF# 76] (E.D. Pa.)
IM-PA-0015-0012.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/15/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Brief Amici Curiae of Administrative Law, et al. in Support of Plaintiff's Motion For a Preliminary Injunction [ECF# 77]
IM-PA-0015-0013.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/15/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Brief of Amici Curiae the American Civil Liberties Union, et al. in Support of Plaintiff's Motion For Preliminary Injunction [ECF# 78]
IM-PA-0015-0014.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/15/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Baylson, Michael M. (E.D. Pa.)
IM-PA-0015-0011 | IM-PA-0015-0012 | IM-PA-0015-9001
Plaintiff's Lawyers Ahuja, Jasmeet K. (Pennsylvania)
IM-PA-0015-0001 | IM-PA-0015-0002 | IM-PA-0015-0004 | IM-PA-0015-0008 | IM-PA-0015-0010 | IM-PA-0015-9001
Bowerman, Alexander B. (Pennsylvania)
IM-PA-0015-0001 | IM-PA-0015-0002 | IM-PA-0015-0004 | IM-PA-0015-0008 | IM-PA-0015-0010 | IM-PA-0015-9001
Gibson, Virginia A. (District of Columbia)
IM-PA-0015-0001 | IM-PA-0015-0002 | IM-PA-0015-0004 | IM-PA-0015-0008 | IM-PA-0015-0010 | IM-PA-0015-9001
Heim, Robert C. (Pennsylvania)
IM-PA-0015-0001 | IM-PA-0015-0002 | IM-PA-0015-0004 | IM-PA-0015-0008 | IM-PA-0015-0010 | IM-PA-0015-9001
Katyal, Neal Kumar (District of Columbia)
IM-PA-0015-0002 | IM-PA-0015-0004 | IM-PA-0015-0008 | IM-PA-0015-0010 | IM-PA-0015-9001
Leone, Judy Lee (Pennsylvania)
IM-PA-0015-0001 | IM-PA-0015-0002 | IM-PA-0015-0004 | IM-PA-0015-0008 | IM-PA-0015-0010 | IM-PA-0015-9001
Pratt, Marcel S. (Pennsylvania)
IM-PA-0015-0001 | IM-PA-0015-0002 | IM-PA-0015-0004 | IM-PA-0015-0008 | IM-PA-0015-0010 | IM-PA-0015-9001
Rosman, Lewis (Pennsylvania)
IM-PA-0015-0001 | IM-PA-0015-0002 | IM-PA-0015-0004 | IM-PA-0015-0008 | IM-PA-0015-0010 | IM-PA-0015-9001
Sachse, Will W. (Pennsylvania)
IM-PA-0015-0002 | IM-PA-0015-0004 | IM-PA-0015-0008 | IM-PA-0015-0010 | IM-PA-0015-9001
Schuker, Daniel J.T. (District of Columbia)
IM-PA-0015-0002 | IM-PA-0015-0004 | IM-PA-0015-0008 | IM-PA-0015-0010 | IM-PA-0015-9001
Solow, Sara (Pennsylvania)
IM-PA-0015-0001 | IM-PA-0015-0002 | IM-PA-0015-0004 | IM-PA-0015-0008 | IM-PA-0015-0010 | IM-PA-0015-9001
Tulante, Sozi Pedro (Pennsylvania)
IM-PA-0015-0001 | IM-PA-0015-0002 | IM-PA-0015-0004 | IM-PA-0015-0007 | IM-PA-0015-0008 | IM-PA-0015-0010 | IM-PA-0015-9001
Defendant's Lawyers Garg, Arjun (District of Columbia)
IM-PA-0015-0003 | IM-PA-0015-0009 | IM-PA-0015-9001
Lappen, Louis D. (District of Columbia)
IM-PA-0015-0003 | IM-PA-0015-0009
Readler, Chad A. (District of Columbia)
IM-PA-0015-0003 | IM-PA-0015-0009 | IM-PA-0015-9001
St. Joseph, Anthony (Pennsylvania)
IM-PA-0015-9001
Tyler, John Russell (District of Columbia)
IM-PA-0015-0003 | IM-PA-0015-0009
Other Lawyers Amdur, Spencer (New York)
IM-PA-0015-0014
Davies, Jamison (New York)
IM-PA-0015-0006 | IM-PA-0015-0013 | IM-PA-0015-9001
Eisenstein, Ilana H. (Pennsylvania)
IM-PA-0015-0005 | IM-PA-0015-9001
Fleming, Mark (Illinois)
IM-PA-0015-0014
Grugan, John C. (Pennsylvania)
IM-PA-0015-9001
Kasten, Mark A. (Pennsylvania)
IM-PA-0015-0005 | IM-PA-0015-9001
Leckerman, Jason A. (Pennsylvania)
IM-PA-0015-9001
McKee Vassallo, Emilia L. (Pennsylvania)
IM-PA-0015-9001
Melloy Goettel, Katherine E. (District of Columbia)
IM-PA-0015-0014
Narayan, Kavita Kandala (California)
IM-PA-0015-9001
Neff, Kristina (Pennsylvania)
IM-PA-0015-0005 | IM-PA-0015-9001
Richards, Ira N. (Pennsylvania)
IM-PA-0015-0006 | IM-PA-0015-0013 | IM-PA-0015-9001
Sandick, Harry (New York)
IM-PA-0015-0006 | IM-PA-0015-0013 | IM-PA-0015-9001
Schwartz, Michael D. (New York)
IM-PA-0015-0006 | IM-PA-0015-0013 | IM-PA-0015-9001
Tack-Hooper, Molly M. (Pennsylvania)
IM-PA-0015-0014 | IM-PA-0015-9001
Trice, Laura Susan (California)
IM-PA-0015-9001
Wofsy, Cody H. (California)
IM-PA-0015-0014

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