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Case Name Sierra Club v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security IM-CA-0100
Docket / Court 4:17-cv-05273-KAW ( 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
On Sept. 12, 2017, the Sierra Club sued the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and its component, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The case was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

In its ... read more >
On Sept. 12, 2017, the Sierra Club sued the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and its component, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The case was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

In its complaint, plaintiff described itself as "the nation’s oldest grassroots environmental organization, [which] . . . has long advocated to protect and preserve the cultures of the borderland communities, as well as the region’s land, wildlife, and environment." Plaintiff feared potential environmental damage that could result from President Trump's Executive Order (EO) No. 13767, authorizing expansion or replacement of portions of the U.S.-Mexico border wall.

The complaint alleged that plaintiff had submitted several unfulfilled FOIA requests to defendant agencies, seeking information about the environmental impacts of border wall proposals. First, in 2013, plaintiff had asked for records since 2010 about border wall construction in a wildlife refuge and flood plains in parts of Texas. Although DHS released a few highly-redacted documents and promised to follow with more information, as of 2017 DHS had not yet completed its search for responsive records and had made no further determination. Next, on Mar. 17, 2017, plaintiff requested records since 2006 relating to a government consultant's work on the border wall, but plaintiff had received no further communication from DHS.

Finally, on May 4, 2017, plaintiff requested records related to the EO, specifically:
1. All records related to the border wall referred to in the Presidential Administration's FY 2017 supplemental appropriations request;
2. All maps and related documents identifying all locations considered or planned for border fencing/tactical infrastructure described in the FY 2017 appropriations legislation;
3. All bids by vendors related to border wall proposals and submitted to DHS and/or CBP;
4. All communications related to border wall proposals between DHS and/or CBP;
5. All communications between DHS and CBP related to border wall proposals, including, but not limited to: funding, timetables, and vendor
selection;
6. All existing and/or proposed timetables for the execution and construction of border wall proposals;
7. All communications between DHS and/or CBP with the White House
that relate to border wall proposals;
8. All communication between DHS and/or CBP and any other federal
agencies that relate to the border wall proposals.

DHS then responded to plaintiff on Aug. 29, 2017, asking plaintiff to narrow the scope of its request, and asserting that this request did not constitute a denial.

The complaint alleged that, in all three of the requests above, DHS violated FOIA by failing to issue a determination within the statutory 20-day deadline and by failing to conduct an adequate records search. Further, regarding the 2013 request, plaintiff alleged that DHS had violated FOIA by wrongfully withholding non-exempt records. Plaintiff sought a disclosure order under FOIA and attorneys' fees.

This case was assigned to Magistrate Judge Kandis A. Westmore on Sept. 12. A case management statement was filed on Dec. 5, an ADR conference was held on Dec. 7, and a case management conference is set for Dec. 12.

This case is ongoing.

Ava Morgenstern - 12/08/2017


compress summary

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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
General
Record-keeping
Records Disclosure
Immigration/Border
Border wall
Plaintiff Type
Non-profit NON-religious organization
Causes of Action Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. § 552
Defendant(s) U.S. Customs and Border Protection
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Plaintiff Description Environmental organization challenging construction of border wall
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief None yet
Source of Relief None yet
Case Ongoing Yes
Additional Resources
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  Sierra Club Challenges Trump Administration to Obtain Border Wall Information
www.sierraclub.org
Date: Oct. 13, 2017
By: Sierra Club
[ 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 (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)
4:17-cv-05273-KAW (N.D. Cal.)
IM-CA-0100-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/01/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief [ECF# 1] (2017 WL 4037557)
IM-CA-0100-0001.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 09/12/2017
Source: Bloomberg Law
Judges Westmore, Kandis Arianne Court not on record [Magistrate]
IM-CA-0100-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Darby, Marta (California)
IM-CA-0100-0001 | IM-CA-0100-9000
Issod, Andrea S. (California)
IM-CA-0100-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Pereda, David Alejandro (California)
IM-CA-0100-9000

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