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Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name County of Santa Clara v. Trump IM-CA-0106
Docket / Court 3:17-cv-05813 ( N.D. Cal. )
Additional Docket(s) 5:17-cv-05813  [ 17-5813 ]  Northern District of CA (U.S.)
State/Territory California
Case Type(s) Immigration and/or the Border
Special Collection Civil Rights Challenges to Trump Immigration Enforcement Orders
Case Summary
This lawsuit, brought on October 10, 2017, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, challenged President Trump's revocation of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). The plaintiffs were Santa Clara County and a labor union representing thousands of county ... read more >
This lawsuit, brought on October 10, 2017, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, challenged President Trump's revocation of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). The plaintiffs were Santa Clara County and a labor union representing thousands of county employees, and they sought to enjoin the government from ending the program. Not only did the DACA recipients stand to lose benefits and security they had relied upon, but the plaintiffs argued that their employers and communities stood to lose the benefits these recipients provided to them. As a result, the plaintiffs contended that revoking DACA violated Fifth Amendment due process, equal protection, and the Administrative Procedure Act. They sought equitable estoppel, injunctive relief, and a declaratory judgment.

In 2012, the Obama administration created the DACA program via 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 highlights, the Obama administration promoted DACA by making 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 plaintiff Santa Clara stated that 38% of its residents are born outside of the U.S., and that its high immigrant population meant that DACA’s rescission would be particularly harmful to the county. The other plaintiff, Service Employees International Union Local 521 (Local 521), is a labor union that represents over 10,000 individuals employed by Santa Clara county. Local 521 joined the suit to protect the rights of its current and future members, and to act on their behalf. The plaintiffs argued that DACA recipients had come to rely on the program and on the assurances that their private application information would not be used against them, but that both their ability to receive important benefits and be safe from deportation were put in danger. The plaintiffs further argued that the government did not provide sound rationale for its decision to rescind DACA, and that this decision was clearly driven by racial animus.

The case was assigned to Magistrate Judge Howard R. Lloyd. On October 16, the case was related to the other DACA cases under Judge William Alsup. This case was also reassigned to him. The related cases are: State of California v. Department of Homeland Security (No. 17-cv-5235), Garcia v. USA (No. 17-cv-5380), City of San Jose v. Trump (No. 17-cv-05329), and Regents of the University of California v. Department of Homeland Security (No. 17-cv-05211); all of which are in this Clearinghouse.

On October 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 October 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 documents that Acting Secretary Duke did not directly review. On October 18, the defendants moved to stay further proceedings at this court in light of their intent to appeal this ruling to the Ninth Circuit. The court declined to enter a stay, and the defendants appealed by filing a petition for a writ of mandamus to the district court and and emergency motion for stay. On October 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 was scheduled to end on March 5, 2018.

On November 16, the Ninth Circuit denied the defendants' motion for a writ of mandamus and vacated the stay of discovery and record expansion that had been entered. The District Court immediately ordered the federal government to file an augmented administrative record by November 22. On November 17, the federal government filed an emergency motion noting that it intended to file an application for mandamus with the Supreme Court, and requesting that the Ninth Circuit stay its order pending the Supreme Court's resolution of the forthcoming petition. On November 21, the Ninth Circuit dismissed the federal government's motion, noting that jurisdiction was 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 November 20 agreed to stay all discovery until December 22, at which point the augmented administrative record was due.

On December 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 December 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 October 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 was unreviewable because it was "committed to agency discretion," 5 U.S.C. §701(a)(2), and that the Immigration and Nationality Act deprived 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 (2017). The same day, the district court stayed the order compelling the government to complete the administrative record.

On January 9, 2018, the court dismissed the government's motion to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction from November 2017 and provided provisional relief to the plaintiffs. The order indicated the court would separately dismiss the government's motion to dismiss 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 rescission. 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 January 12, dismissing the plaintiffs' Regulatory Flexibility Act and equitable estoppel claims, as well as 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 one week later. The government also sought certiorari from the Supreme Court on January 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 February 26, 2018, indicating the justices assumed "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 November 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 an 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. 908 F.3d 476. Thus, the panel concluded the 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." Id.

The defendants petitioned the Supreme Court of the U.S. for a writ of certiorari on Nov. 5, 2018.

On June 28, 2019, the Supreme Court granted writs of certiorari in three DACA cases: Regents of the University of California v. DHS, 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. The decision of the Court should be released sometime in the summer of 2020.

Virginia Weeks - 10/11/2017
Virginia Weeks - 11/08/2018
Sam Kulhanek - 02/27/2019
Eva Richardson - 05/19/2019
Sam Kulhanek - 02/14/2020

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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
Deportation - criteria
Deportation - judicial review
Deportation - procedure
Undocumented immigrants - rights and duties
Work authorization - criteria
Work authorization - procedures
Plaintiff Type
City/County Plaintiff
Non-profit NON-religious organization
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 Santa Clara County and a labor union
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Preliminary injunction / Temp. restraining order
Source of Relief Litigation
Filed 10/10/2017
Case Ongoing Yes
Case Listing IM-CA-0099 : Garcia v. United States of America (N.D. Cal.)
IM-CA-0095 : Regents of University of California v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security (N.D. Cal.)
IM-CA-0098 : City of San Jose v. Trump (N.D. Cal.)
IM-CA-0096 : State of California v. Department of Homeland Security (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 (May provide additional documents and, for active cases, real-time alerts)
  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 ]

5:17-cv-05813 (N.D. Cal.)
IM-CA-0106-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/03/2019
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint For Declaratory and Injunctive Relief [ECF# 1]
IM-CA-0106-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/10/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Re Motion to Complete Administrative Record [ECF# 12] (2017 WL 4642324) (N.D. Cal.)
IM-CA-0106-0006.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 10/17/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order (875 F.3d 1200)
IM-CA-0106-0005.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 11/16/2017
Source: Google Scholar
Order [Supreme Court] [ECF# 45] (86 U.S. 4009)
IM-CA-0106-0002.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | 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# 48] (N.D. Cal.)
IM-CA-0106-0003.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# 53] (298 F.Supp.3d 1304) (N.D. Cal.)
IM-CA-0106-0004.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 01/12/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Alsup, William Haskell (N.D. Cal.) show/hide docs
IM-CA-0106-0003 | IM-CA-0106-0004 | IM-CA-0106-0006 | IM-CA-0106-9000
Gould, Ronald Murray (Ninth Circuit) show/hide docs
Kim, Sallie Court not on record [Magistrate] show/hide docs
Wardlaw, Kim McLane (C.D. Cal., Ninth Circuit) show/hide docs
Plaintiff's Lawyers Brown, Eric (California) show/hide docs
IM-CA-0106-0001 | IM-CA-0106-9000
Hansen, Greta Suzanne (California) show/hide docs
IM-CA-0106-0001 | IM-CA-0106-9000
Leyton, Stacey M. (California) show/hide docs
IM-CA-0106-0001 | IM-CA-0106-9000
Quinones, Marcelo (California) show/hide docs
IM-CA-0106-0001 | IM-CA-0106-9000
Trice, Laura Susan (California) show/hide docs
IM-CA-0106-0001 | IM-CA-0106-9000
Weissglass, Jonathan (California) show/hide docs
IM-CA-0106-0001 | IM-CA-0106-9000
Williams, James R. (California) show/hide docs
IM-CA-0106-0001 | IM-CA-0106-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Rosenberg, Brad P. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
Other Lawyers Leheny, Emma (District of Columbia) show/hide docs

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