University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
new search
view search results
page permalink
Case Name Defenders of Wildlife v. Duke IM-CA-0101
Docket / Court 3:17-cv-01873-JM-AGS ( S.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, filed on Sept. 14, 2017, challenged President Trump's authorization of the construction of a border wall at the U.S.-Mexico border. Plaintiffs, environmental advocacy organizations (Defenders of Wildlife, the Sierra Club, and the Animal Legal Defense Fund), sued the U.S. Department of ... read more >
This suit, filed on Sept. 14, 2017, challenged President Trump's authorization of the construction of a border wall at the U.S.-Mexico border. Plaintiffs, environmental advocacy organizations (Defenders of Wildlife, the Sierra Club, and the Animal Legal Defense Fund), sued the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for failing to comply with existing laws and for taking actions beyond the scope of its authority. Plaintiffs filed their complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California.

On Jan. 25, 2017, President Trump issued Executive Order (EO) No. 13767, which directed DHS to "take all appropriate steps to immediately plan, design, and construct a physical wall along the southern border." The EO cited as its authority the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRIRA) of 1996. IIRIRA § 102 allows the Secretary of DHS to "take such actions as may be necessary to install additional physical barriers and roads ... in the vicinity of the United States border to deter illegal crossings in areas of high illegal entry into the United States." Further, under the REAL ID Act of 2005, the Secretary may "waive all legal requirements [that the] Secretary, in such Secretary’s sole discretion, determines necessary to ensure expeditious construction of the barriers and roads under this section.” IIRIRA also restricts judicial review of such action.

Despite this, plaintiffs argued that § 102 also limits the Secretary's discretion to issue waivers, and that defendants had here overstepped these limits. First, plaintiffs argued that the IIRIRA waiver provision is limited to "the installation of 'additional physical barriers and road[s]...in areas of high illegal entry,'" and does not authorize replacement of existing barriers and roads, construction of temporary prototype walls, or the construction of barriers and roads in areas that are not "of high illegal entry into the United States." Further, plaintiffs argued that the Secretary's authority to issue waivers had expired in 2008, and that Congress had never again granted this authority since 2005. Finally, plaintiffs alleged that the Secretary did not explain how DHS had identified "high illegal entry" at the proposed border wall sites.

Plaintiffs asserted that DHS twice attempted to exercise this waiver, on Aug. 2 and Sept. 12, 2017, with respect to portions of the California border pursuant to the EO. In so doing, plaintiffs argued that DHS violated the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) and various federal environmental statutes. Additionally, plaintiffs alleged that the border wall would harm borderland wildlife areas and thus plaintiffs' members who frequented these areas.

Plaintiffs sought injunctive and declaratory relief. Specifically, plaintiffs sought a declaration that the IIRIRA waiver provision did not apply to DHS's proposed activities pursuant to the EO, that the two California waivers did not comply with the IIRIRA waiver provision, and that both the California waivers and the IIRIRA provision itself violated the Presentment Clauses, the Nondelegation Doctrine, and the separation of powers doctrine.

The case was first assigned to Judge Jeffrey T. Miller and then reassigned to Judge Gonzalo P. Curiel on Sept. 20. The Court also, on Sept. 15, granted plaintiffs' request to relate this case to another recent case filed by environmental groups challenging the border wall, Center for Biological Diversity v. DHS.

The parties jointly requested on Oct. 20 that this case be consolidated with Center for Biological Diversity and California v. U.S.. On Oct. 24, Judge Curiel granted the motion.

This case has been consolidated with Center for Biological Diversity v. DHS and continues at that page.

Ava Morgenstern - 10/29/2017


compress summary

- click to show/hide ALL -
Issues and Causes of Action
click to show/hide detail
Issues
Defendant-type
Jurisdiction-wide
Immigration/Border
Border wall
Plaintiff Type
Non-profit NON-religious organization
Causes of Action Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. §§ 551 et seq.
Bivens
Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201
Ex parte Young (federal or state officials)
Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (IIRIRA)
Defendant(s) U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Plaintiff Description California environmental advocacy organizations whose members frequent the Mexico-U.S. borderlands
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 No reason to think so
Case Listing IM-CA-0103 : Center for Biological Diversity v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security (S.D. Cal.)
IM-CA-0102 : People of the State of California v. United States of America (S.D. Cal.)
Additional Resources
click to show/hide detail
  The Border Wall: Disastrous for Wildlife
www.aldf.org
Date: Sep. 14, 2017
By: Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF)
[ Detail ]

  Conservation Groups Challenge Border Wall Construction in San Diego, Imperial Valley
www.sierraclub.org
Date: Sep. 14, 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)
3:17-cv-01873-GPC-WVG (S.D. Cal.)
IM-CA-0101-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 09/26/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief [ECF# 1]
IM-CA-0101-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 09/14/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Curiel, Gonzalo Paul (D. Vt., S.D. Cal.)
IM-CA-0101-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Eliseuson, Anthony Thomas (Illinois)
IM-CA-0101-0001 | IM-CA-0101-9000
Hanneken, Sarah Kathryn (Oregon)
IM-CA-0101-0001 | IM-CA-0101-9000
Paben, Brett Michael (Colorado)
IM-CA-0101-0001 | IM-CA-0101-9000
Smith, Gloria D. (California)
IM-CA-0101-0001 | IM-CA-0101-9000

- click to show/hide ALL -

new search
view search results
page permalink

- top of page -