University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Garcia v. United States of America IM-CA-0099
Docket / Court 3:17-cv-05380 ( N.D. Cal. )
Additional Docket(s) 17-801  [ 17-801 ]  U.S. Supreme Court
State/Territory California
Case Type(s) Immigration and/or the Border
Special Collection Civil Rights Challenges to Trump Immigration Enforcement Orders
Take Care
Case Summary
This suit, brought on September 18, 2017 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, challenged President Trump's revocation of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). The plaintiffs were DACA recipients who sought to enjoin the government from ending the program ... read more >
This suit, brought on September 18, 2017 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, challenged President Trump's revocation of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). The plaintiffs were DACA recipients who sought to enjoin the government from ending the program. Not only did the plaintiffs stand to lose benefits and security they have relied upon, but the plaintiffs argued that the communities in which they reside also stand to lose valuable contributing members. The complaint argued that the DACA program made promises to its recipients upon which they have relied for their entire lives in America. As a result, the plaintiffs contended that revoking DACA violated Fifth Amendment due process and equal protection, the Administrative Procedure Act, and the Regulatory Flexibility Act. They sought equitable estoppel, injunctive relief, and declaratory judgment.

In 2012, the Obama administration created the DACA program by DHS policy statements. The program offered work permits and temporary protection from deportation to undocumented immigrants who had been brought to the United States as children. As of 2017, there were an estimated 800,000 DACA recipients. On September 5, 2017, President Trump announced that he was ending the program in March unless Congress acted within the next six months. As the complaint highlighted, the Obama administration in promoting DACA made key promises to immigrants: that any information they provided in the application process would not be used for immigration enforcement, and that barring criminal activity or fraud in their DACA applications, DACA recipients would be able to renew their status and keep their benefits.

The plaintiffs, represented by public and private counsel, were six individuals who were brought into the U.S. at young ages and lived, worked, and studied in California. One was a practicing attorney, one was a special education teacher, and four others attended graduate school. The plaintiffs argued that they each relied on the government's promises. They also argued that the revocation of DACA was fueled by President Trump's anti-Mexican racial animus evidenced in his past statements and actions. Moreover, the plaintiffs stated that the government took "affirmative steps to reduce the protections applicable to information provided in connection with the DACA program" as evidenced by a January 2017 Executive Order mandating that all agencies “ensure that their privacy policies exclude persons who are not United States citizens or lawful permanent residents from the protections of the Privacy Act regarding personally identifiable information.”

The case was assigned to Magistrate Judge Joseph C. Spero. On Sept. 20, the case was marked as related to two other cases: State of California v. Department of Homeland Security, No. 17-cv-05235, and Regents of University of California v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security, No. 17-cv-05211. The next day, the case was reassigned to Judge William Alsup. On Oct. 16, County of Santa Clara v. Trump and City of San Jose v. Trump, were added as related cases. All are in the Clearinghouse.

On Oct. 6, 2017, in a related challenge led by Regents of University of California before this judge, the government filed the administrative record, available here, which included a series of government documents pertaining to DACA from its inception to the decision to rescind it. On Oct. 17, after the University in the related case moved to compel the defendants to complete the administrative record, the court ordered them to do so in all related cases, including this one. The court found that the defendants did not produce all documents leading to the rescission, specifically related documents that Acting Secretary Duke did not directly review. The defendants moved to stay further proceedings at this court on Oct. 18 in light of their intent to appeal this ruling to the Ninth Circuit. The court denied staying proceedings on Oct. 19, and the defendants appealed the next day by filing a petition for a writ of mandamus to the district court and emergency motion for stay. On Oct. 23, 2017, the district court replied to the Ninth Circuit's invitation to answer the government's petition stating it would not stay proceedings in light of the narrow window of time until the DACA ends on March 5, 2018.

On Nov. 16, 2017, the Ninth Circuit denied defendants' motion for a writ of mandamus and vacated the stay of discovery and record expansion that had been entered, and the District Court immediately ordered the federal government to file an augmented administrative record by Nov 22, 2017. On Nov. 17, 2017, the federal government filed an emergency motion noting that it intended to file an application for mandamus with the Supreme Court no later than Nov. 20, 2017 and requesting that the Ninth Circuit stay its order pending the Supreme Court's resolution of the forthcoming petition. On Nov. 21, 2017, the Ninth Circuit dismissed the federal government's motion, noting that jurisdiction currently lies with the District Court and instructing the federal government that further relief must be sought in a new petition for mandamus.

Meanwhile, in the district court, Judge Alsup on Nov. 20, 2017, agreed to stay all discovery until Dec. 22, 2017 at which point the augmented administrative record will be due.

On Dec. 1, 2017, the government filed notice that they appealed the Ninth's Circuit denial of mandamus relief and applied for a stay to the Supreme Court. On Dec. 21 in a per curiam opinion, the Supreme Court vacated the Ninth Circuit's denial and remanded the case, arguing that the district court should have stayed implementation of the Oct. 17 order compelling the government to complete the administrative record. The Supreme Court stated that the lower court should have "first resolved the Government’s threshold arguments (that the Acting Secretary’s determination to rescind DACA is unreviewable because it is “committed to agency discretion,” 5 U. S. C. §701(a)(2), and that the Immigration and Nationality Act deprives the District Court of jurisdiction). Either of those arguments, if accepted, likely would eliminate the need for the District Court to examine a complete administrative record." 138 S. Ct. 443. The same day, the district court stayed the order compelling the government to complete the administrative record.

On Jan. 9, 2018, the court denied the government's motion to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction from Nov. 1, 2017 and provided provisional relief to the plaintiffs. The order indicated the court would separately dismiss the government's motion to dismiss under for failure to state a claim. The court ordered a nationwide preliminary injunction, ordering that DACA remain in effect on the same terms and conditions that existed prior to the recession. However, the government did not need to process new applications from individuals who never before received deferred action. The court then granted in part and denied in part the government's motion to dismiss on Jan. 12, 2018 dismissing the plaintiffs' Regulatory Flexibility Act and equitable estoppel claims as well the individual plaintiffs' declaratory relief claims. The court sustained the plaintiffs' APA, due process, and equal protection claims (with a few exceptions from the various complaints of the related cases).

The government appealed to the Ninth Circuit on Jan. 16, 2018. The government also sought certiorari from the Supreme Court on Jan. 18 while the Ninth Circuit appeal was pending, arguing that the Supreme Court's immediate review was warranted because of how long the appeal would take in the Ninth Circuit and how time sensitive the issue was. The Supreme Court denied cert without prejudice on Feb. 26, 2018, indicating the justices assume "that the Court of Appeals will proceed expeditiously to decide this case."

The related cases were consolidated in the Ninth Circuit for the purposes of appeal. In February and March 2018, the parties and amici filed their briefs, which can be found here.

The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court's rulings on Nov. 8, 2018. The panel held that the government's decision to rescind DACA was reviewable because it was based on a belief that law foreclosed any alternative because the agency lacked authority rather than on exercise of discretion. The panel further concluded the decision was reviewable because the government based rescission only on the belief that DACA went beyond DHS' authority and so the APA's bar did not apply, and the decision did not fall within the three discrete occasions when the INA bars judicial review of DHS decisions. As to the merits of preliminary injunction, the panel held that "DACA was a permissible exercise of executive discretion" and the government's belief that DACA was illegal was wrong. 2018 WL 5833232. Thus, the panel concluded the plaintiffs were likely to succeed on the merits in showing that the rescission was arbitrary and capricious under the APA. The panel also held that a nationwide injunction was appropriate because it "promotes uniformity in immigration enforcement, and is necessary to provide the plaintiffs here with complete redress." Id.

The defendants petitioned the Supreme Court of the U.S. for a writ of certiorari on Nov. 5.

On June 28, 2019, the Supreme Court granted writs of certiorari in three DACA cases: Regents of University of California v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Batalla Vidal v. Nielsen, and NAACP v. Trump, all of which were pending before different circuit courts of appeal. The Court consolidated the three cases (No. 18-587).

The Supreme Court heard oral argument on November 12, 2019, on the issues of whether DHS's decision to wind down the DACA policy is judicially reviewable and whether DHS’s decision to rescind DACA is lawful. On June 18, 2020, in an opinion by Chief Justice Roberts (joined by Justices Ginsburg, Breyer, Kagan, and Sotomayor), the Court held that the DACA rescission was subject to judicial review under the APA, that the DHS secretary had offered insufficient justification to rescind the program, and that the rescission was unlawful, arbitrary, and capricious in violation fo the APA. 140 S. Ct. 1891.

Following the Supreme Court's decision, in another case challenging the DACA recession, Casa De Maryland v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the Fourth Circuit issued a mandate to reinstate DACA and set aside the recession memo on a nationwide basis on June 30, 2020. On July 17, 2020, the District Court of Maryland ordered DHS to reinstate DACA as it existed before the issuance of the recession memo and ordered DHS to resume accepting initial DACA applications.

However, Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf instead issued a memorandum entitled "Reconsideration of the June 15, 2012 Memorandum Entitled 'Exercising Prosecutorial Discretion with Respect to Individuals Who Came to the United States as Children" on July 28, 2020 ("Wolf Memorandum"). In this memo, Acting Secretary Wolf stated that he would reconsider DACA's future in light of the Supreme Court's decision. In the interim, the memo instructed USCIS to reject all initial requests for DACA, to only grant advance parole to current DACA beneficiaries in exceptional circumstances, and grant DACA renewals for only one-year, rather than two-year, periods. Later in August, Deputy Director for Policy for USCIS Joseph Edlow issued a memorandum implementing the Wolf Memorandum.

On August 4, 2020, the Ninth Circuit remanded the case to the district court for further action consistent with the opinion of the Supreme Court.

In response to the Wolf Memorandum, the plaintiffs filed an amended complaint on November 3, 2020. In the amended complaint, the plaintiffs substituted some of the defendants to reflect new individuals occupying the relevant roles and to add additional responsible officials, including Deputy Director for Policy Edlow. The amended complaint argued that Acting Secretary Wolf's actions were invalid under the Federal Vacancies Reform Action, Homeland Security Act, and the Appointments Clause of the Constitution because he lacked proper authority to issue the Wolf Memorandum. In addition, the plaintiffs argued that the Wolf Memorandum and Edlow Memorandum violated the APA because Wolf and Edlow acted in an arbitrary and capricious manner. The plaintiffs sought declaratory relief and an injunction preventing the defendants from altering or limiting DACA program and vacating the Wolf and Edlow Memoranda.

Before any additional activity on the amended complaint in this case, on December 4, the court in another case challenging the Wolf Memorandum,Batalla Vidal v. Nielsen and State of New York v. Trump, ordered DHS to fully reinstate DACA as it existed prior to the attempted recession in September 2017 after it found that Acting Secretary Wolf was not lawfully serving as Acting Secretary. The order required DHS to accept initial DACA applications, accept advance parole applications, and grant DACA renewals for two-years. On December 7, 2020 USCIS updated their website and indicated that effective that day, USCIS would accept initial applications, extend one-year DACA renewals to two-years, and accept applications for advance parole.

Then, in early 2021, President Biden took office. On the day of his inauguration (January 20, 2021), President Biden signed a memorandum directing DHS and the Attorney General “to preserve and fortify DACA.” In light of potential additional agency action to implement the memorandum, the parties filed a joint stipulation to stay further proceedings and vacate pending deadlines on March 22, 2021. They agreed to provide the court with status updates every 60 days. The first is due May 24, 2021. This case is ongoing.

Virginia Weeks - 11/08/2018
Sam Kulhanek - 02/17/2019
Aaron Gurley - 11/21/2019
Sam Kulhanek - 02/14/2020
Emily Kempa - 05/14/2021


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Benefit Source
DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals)
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Equal Protection
Content of Injunction
Preliminary relief granted
Defendant-type
Jurisdiction-wide
Discrimination-basis
Immigration status
Immigration/Border
Constitutional rights
Deportation - criteria
Deportation - judicial review
Deportation - procedure
Legalization/Amnesty
Status/Classification
Undocumented immigrants - rights and duties
Work authorization - criteria
Work authorization - procedures
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. §§ 551 et seq.
Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201
Defendant(s) Department of Homeland Security
Plaintiff Description Six individual DACA recipients residing in California
Class action status sought No
Class action status outcome Not sought
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Preliminary injunction / Temp. restraining order
Source of Relief Litigation
Filed 09/18/2017
Case Ongoing Yes
Case Listing IM-CA-0095 : Regents of University of California v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security (N.D. Cal.)
IM-CA-0096 : State of California v. Department of Homeland Security (N.D. Cal.)
IM-CA-0098 : City of San Jose v. Trump (N.D. Cal.)
IM-CA-0106 : County of Santa Clara v. Trump (N.D. Cal.)
IM-NY-0055 : State of New York v. Trump (E.D.N.Y.)
Additional Resources
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  See this case at CourtListener.com (May provide additional documents and, for active cases, real-time alerts)
  Preserving and Fortifying Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)
Federal Register
Date: Jan. 25, 2021
By: Executive Office of the President
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  Memorandum on Rescission Of Deferred Action For Childhood Arrivals (DACA)
www.dhs.gov
Date: Sep. 5, 2017
By: 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 ]

Court Docket(s)
N.D. Cal.
04/11/2019
3:17-cv-05380-JCS
IM-CA-0099-9000.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
N.D. Cal.
09/18/2017
Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief [ECF# 1]
IM-CA-0099-0001.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
U.S. Supreme Court
12/21/2017
Order [Supreme Court] [ECF# 57] (138 S.Ct. 443)
IM-CA-0099-0002.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
N.D. Cal.
01/09/2018
Order Denying FRCP 12(b)(1) Dismissal and Granting Provisional Relief [ECF# 60]
IM-CA-0099-0004.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
N.D. Cal.
01/12/2018
Order Granting in Part Defendants' Motion to Dismiss under FRCP 12(b)(6) [ECF# 65] (298 F.Supp.3d 1304)
IM-CA-0099-0003.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
N.D. Cal.
11/08/2018
Ninth Circuit Court Opinion [ECF# 88] (908 F.3d 476)
IM-CA-0099-0005.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
U.S. Supreme Court
06/18/2020
Opinion of the Court (140 S.Ct. 1891)
IM-CA-0099-0007.pdf | WESTLAW | External Link | Detail
Source: Supreme Court website
N.D. Cal.
11/02/2020
First Amended Complaint [ECF# 98]
IM-CA-0099-0006.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
N.D. Cal.
03/22/2021
Stipulation Re: Vacation of Deadlines and Stay of Proceedings Pending Defendants' Actions Pursuant to January 20, 2021 Presidential Memorandum Re: DACA [ECF# 318]
IM-CA-0099-0008.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Alito, Samuel A. Jr. (Third Circuit, SCOTUS) show/hide docs
IM-CA-0099-0007
Alsup, William Haskell (N.D. Cal.) show/hide docs
IM-CA-0099-0003 | IM-CA-0099-0004
Gorsuch, Neil M. (Tenth Circuit, SCOTUS) show/hide docs
IM-CA-0099-0007
Kavanaugh, Brett M. (D.C. Circuit, SCOTUS) show/hide docs
IM-CA-0099-0007
Nguyen, Jacqueline Hong-Ngoc (C.D. Cal., Ninth Circuit) show/hide docs
IM-CA-0099-0005
Owens, John Byron (Ninth Circuit) show/hide docs
IM-CA-0099-0005
Roberts, John Glover Jr. (D.C. Circuit, SCOTUS) show/hide docs
IM-CA-0099-0007
Sotomayor, Sonia (S.D.N.Y., Second Circuit, SCOTUS) show/hide docs
IM-CA-0099-0007
Thomas, Clarence (D.C. Circuit, SCOTUS) show/hide docs
IM-CA-0099-0007
Wardlaw, Kim McLane (C.D. Cal., Ninth Circuit) show/hide docs
IM-CA-0099-0005
Plaintiff's Lawyers Bahadue, Suria M (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-CA-0099-0006
Berger, Justin Theodore (California) show/hide docs
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Boutrous, Theodore J. Jr. (California) show/hide docs
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Chemerinsky, Erwin (California) show/hide docs
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Davidson, Jeffrey Michael (California) show/hide docs
IM-CA-0099-0008
Dettmer, Ethan D. (California) show/hide docs
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Ellison, Keith (Minnesota) show/hide docs
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Frey, Aaron M (Maine) show/hide docs
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Frosh, Brian E. (Maryland) show/hide docs
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Gabriel, Jesse S. (California) show/hide docs
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Hansen, Greta Suzanne (California) show/hide docs
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Kieschnick, Hannah (California) show/hide docs
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Leyton, Stacey M. (California) show/hide docs
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Litman, Leah M. (California) show/hide docs
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London, Judith Maura (California) show/hide docs
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Marquart, Katherine Michelle (New York) show/hide docs
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Passe, Julianna F. (Minnesota) show/hide docs
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Patwardhan, Kimberly L (Maine) show/hide docs
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Quinones, Marcelo (California) show/hide docs
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Rodriquez, Matthew (California) show/hide docs
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Romero, Luis Cortes (California) show/hide docs
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Rosenbaum, Mark Dale (California) show/hide docs
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Rozen, Matthew S. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-CA-0099-0006
Soleimani, Jonathan N. (California) show/hide docs
IM-CA-0099-0006
Sullivan, Steven M. (Maryland) show/hide docs
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Tribe, Laurence (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
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Trice, Laura Susan (California) show/hide docs
IM-CA-0099-0008
Williams, James R. (California) show/hide docs
IM-CA-0099-0008
Defendant's Lawyers Boynton, Brian M (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-CA-0099-0008
Pezzi, Stephen M. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
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Rosenberg, Brad P. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-CA-0099-0008 | IM-CA-0099-9000
Shumate, Brett (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-CA-0099-9000
Other Lawyers Leheny, Emma (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-CA-0099-9000

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