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. )
State/Territory California
Case Type(s) Immigration and/or the Border
Special Collection Civil Rights Challenges to Trump Immigration Enforcement Orders
Case Summary
This suit, brought on September 18, 2017, challenges President Trump's revocation of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). The plaintiffs are DACA recipients who seek to enjoin the government from ending the program. Not only do the plaintiffs stand to lose benefits and security they ... read more >
This suit, brought on September 18, 2017, challenges President Trump's revocation of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). The plaintiffs are DACA recipients who seek to enjoin the government from ending the program. Not only do 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 seek 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 acts within the next six months. As the complaint highlights, 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, are six individuals who were brought into the U.S. at young ages and currently live, work, and study in California. One is a practicing attorney, one is a special education teacher, and four others attend graduate school. The plaintiffs argued that they each relied on the government's promises. They also argued that the revocation of DACA is 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 the University of California v. 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, No. 17-cv-05813, was added as a related case. All are in the Clearinghouse.

On Oct. 6, 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 and emergency motion for stay. On Oct. 23, 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, 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. On Nov. 17, 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, and requesting that the Ninth Circuit stay its order pending the Supreme Court's resolution of the forthcoming petition. On Nov. 21, 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 agreed to stay all discovery until Dec. 22, 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." 583 U. S. ____ (2017). The same day, the district court stayed the order compelling the government to complete the administrative record.

On Jan. 9, 2018, the court dismissed the government's motion to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction from Nov. 1, 2017 under rule 12(b)(1) and provided provisional relief to the plaintiffs. The order indicated the court would separately dismiss the government's motion to dismiss under rule 12(b)(6). 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, 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. Thus the panel concluded plaintiffs were likely to succeed 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."

The case is ongoing.

Virginia Weeks - 09/19/2017
Virginia Weeks - 11/08/2018

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Issues and Causes of Action
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Benefit Source
DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals)
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Equal Protection
Content of Injunction
Preliminary relief granted
Immigration status
Constitutional rights
Temporary protected status
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 granted No
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Preliminary injunction / Temp. restraining order
None yet
Source of Relief None yet
Filing Year 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.)
Additional Resources
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  Memorandum on Rescission Of Deferred Action For Childhood Arrivals (DACA)
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)
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)
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 ]

3:17-cv-05380-JCS (N.D. Cal.)
IM-CA-0099-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/26/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief [ECF# 1]
IM-CA-0099-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 09/18/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [Supreme Court] [ECF# 57] (138 S.Ct. 443)
IM-CA-0099-0002.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 12/21/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Denying FRCP 12(b)(1) Dismissal and Granting Provisional Relief [ECF# 60] (N.D. Cal.)
IM-CA-0099-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/09/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Granting in Part Defendants' Motion to Dismiss under FRCP 12(b)(6) [ECF# 65] (N.D. Cal.)
IM-CA-0099-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/12/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Alsup, William Haskell (N.D. Cal.)
IM-CA-0099-0003 | IM-CA-0099-0004
Plaintiff's Lawyers Boutrous, Theodore J. Jr. (California)
IM-CA-0099-0001 | IM-CA-0099-9000
Chemerinsky, Erwin (California)
IM-CA-0099-0001 | IM-CA-0099-9000
Dettmer, Ethan D. (California)
Gabriel, Jesse S. (California)
Litman, Leah M. (California)
IM-CA-0099-0001 | IM-CA-0099-9000
London, Judith Maura (California)
Marquart, Katherine Michelle (New York)
Romero, Luis Cortes (California)
IM-CA-0099-0001 | IM-CA-0099-9000
Rosenbaum, Mark Dale (California)
IM-CA-0099-0001 | IM-CA-0099-9000
Tribe, Laurence (Massachusetts)
IM-CA-0099-0001 | IM-CA-0099-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Rosenberg, Brad P. (District of Columbia)
Shumate, Brett (District of Columbia)
Other Lawyers Leheny, Emma (District of Columbia)

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