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Case Name Garza v. Hargan IM-DC-0034
Docket / Court 1:17-cv-02122-TSC ( D.D.C. )
State/Territory District of Columbia
Case Type(s) Immigration and/or the Border
Attorney Organization ACLU Chapters (any)
ACLU National (all projects)
ACLU of Northern California
ACLU of Southern California
Case Summary
On Oct. 13, 2017, a 17-year-old pregnant unaccompanied immigrant minor in immigration custody filed this suit against the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and its components Administration for Children and Families (ACF) and Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR). Represented by the ... read more >
On Oct. 13, 2017, a 17-year-old pregnant unaccompanied immigrant minor in immigration custody filed this suit against the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and its components Administration for Children and Families (ACF) and Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR). Represented by the ACLU's national, DC, and Northern and Southern California offices, plaintiff filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

In her complaint, plaintiff alleged that ORR holds thousands of unaccompanied immigrant minors in federal custody. Under a Mar. 2017 policy, ORR prohibited all federally-funded shelters from taking "any action that facilitates" abortion access for unaccompanied minors in their care without "direction and approval from the Director of ORR."

Plaintiff maintained that she was an unaccompanied immigrant minor held in a Texas facility. She was pregnant and wanted an abortion. She received a judicial bypass approval as required under Texas law in the absence of parental consent. However, she alleged that, apparently on direct orders from the heads of ORR and ACF, facility staff refused to allow her to travel out of the detention facility to have the abortion. Additionally, facility staff forced her against her will to go to religiously-affiliated anti-abortion counseling, and notified her mother that she was pregnant.

Plaintiff asserted that ORR was obstructing her and other unaccompanied immigrant minors' rights to reproductive healthcare, including to abortion without "undue burden." She moved for class certification of a class of similarly situated pregnant unaccompanied immigrant minors in the legal custody of the federal government.

According to plaintiff, defendants' obstruction of abortions violated the First and Fifth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, by forcing pregnant minors to speak in religiously-affiliated anti-abortion counseling, and by violating their rights to privacy and liberty. Defendants' practices also violated the terms of the Flores v. Reno settlement agreement mandating certain standards for the treatment of unaccompanied immigrants in detention, including reproductive healthcare access; and a 2013 ORR regulation requiring reproductive healthcare for victims of sexual assault.

Plaintiff feared that the health risk of abortion would increase for every week the procedure was delayed. She thus sought an emergency temporary restraining order, compelling defendants to allow her to travel to have the abortion. This was accompanied by a motion for preliminary injunction to stop defendants from obstructing other pregnant minors' access to abortion. Finally, plaintiff sought Bivens damages for constitutional violations committed by federal officials.

Judge Tanya S. Chutkan was assigned to this case on Oct. 13. Granting plaintiffs' request for expedited briefing, Judge Chutkan held a hearing on Oct. 18, and then issued an order granting a TRO. 2017 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 175415. Finding in particular that plaintiff would suffer irreparable harm to her health were she not permitted to have the abortion, Judge Chutkan ordered defendants to promptly transport plaintiff for the procedure or to allow her guardian or attorney ad litem to transport her.

Defendants immediately appealed to the D.C. Circuit and sought an emergency stay pending the appeal. There, the states of Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina filed an amicus brief supporting defendants.

The D.C. Circuit, in an unpublished Oct. 19 per curiam order, administratively stayed Judge Chutkan's TRO until the Court could consider defendants' emergency motion for a stay on its merits. 2017 WL 4707112. The next day, Judges Henderson, Kavanaugh and Millett held oral argument.

In its Oct. 20 unpublished per curiam order, the Court of Appeals first lifted the administrative stay and then vacated and remanded part of the TRO to the District Court. 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 20711. While the Court found that plaintiff had an uncontested constitutional right to an abortion, the Court agreed with defendants that, pursuant to HHS policy, she first must secure and be released to a sponsor. If this had not occurred by Oct. 31, the District Court could again issue injunctive-type relief and defendants could again appeal. Judge Millett dissented.

On Oct. 22, plaintiff sought an emergency en banc rehearing in the D.C. Circuit. On Oct. 24, the District of Columbia and the States of California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Vermont, and Washington, filed an amicus brief supporting plaintiff's motion. Then, the D.C. Circuit granted plaintiff's requested en banc rehearing, and in an unpublished per curiam Oct. 24 order it vacated its Oct. 20 order. 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 20911. Judge Millett wrote a concurrence; Judges Kavanaugh (joined by Judge Henderson and Griffith) and Judge Henderson dissented. Judge Kavanaugh's dissent took the position that the delay accompanying the panel's original order was not an undue burden on the plaintiff's abortion right; Judge Henderson's dissent argued that undocumented people not yet admitted to the United States have no or very limited abortion rights.

Plaintiff immediately returned to the district court and filed an emergency motion asking Judge Chutkan to amend her Oct. 18 TRO. She did so on Oct. 24, again ordering defendants to promptly transport plaintiff for the abortion or to allow her guardian or attorney ad litem to transport her, within 14 days. In her findings of fact, Judge Chutkan explained that the process of securing an ORR sponsor could take weeks or months, whereas plaintiff was now 15 weeks pregnant and Texas law prohibited abortions after 20 weeks.

On Oct. 25, plaintiff had the abortion, according to an ACLU press release. The same day in the district court, plaintiff filed an unopposed motion for leave to proceed under a pseudonym.

Defendants opposed plaintiff's motion for class certification on Nov. 20; plaintiff replied on Nov. 27.

On Nov. 3, defendants petitioned the Supreme Court for review of the circuit court's Oct. 24 order, asking the Supreme Court to vacate that order and remand the case to the district court with directions to dismiss all claims for prospective relief regarding pregnant unaccompanied minors. In the meantime, defendants asked the district court to stay proceedings. Plaintiff opposed the stay on Nov. 7, arguing that the district court "should not
facilitate Defendants’ desire to put this case on hold for several months while they continue to violate the constitutional rights of young women." Defendants replied on Nov. 9.

The Supreme Court opened a docket, No. 17-654, on Nov. 6. The motion was been distributed for a Dec. 1 conference. On Dec. 4 in the Supreme Court, plaintiff submitted a brief arguing that the Court should deny the cert petition. Plaintiff maintained that the Court should not review or vacate the circuit court's denial of the emergency stay, as the petition presented no legal issue worthy of review. In the alternative, plaintiff alleged that her claims regarding defendants' treatment of pregnant detained minors were not moot.

Also on Dec. 4 in the Supreme Court, 11 states submitted an amicus brief in support of defendants.

This case is ongoing.

Ava Morgenstern - 12/05/2017


compress summary

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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Female
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Establishment Clause
Freedom of speech/association
Content of Injunction
Preliminary relief granted
General
Conditions of confinement
Confidentiality
Counseling
Government Services (specify)
Juveniles
Personal injury
Religious programs / policies
Transportation
Immigration/Border
Constitutional rights
Detention - conditions
Undocumented immigrants - rights and duties
Undocumented immigrants - state and local regulation
Medical/Mental Health
Reproductive health care (including birth control, abortion, and others)
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action Bivens
Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201
Defendant(s) U.S. Administration for Children and Families
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
U.S. Office of Refugee Resettlement
Plaintiff Description A pregnant unaccompanied immigrant minor held in federal immigration custody and seeking an abortion
Indexed Lawyer Organizations ACLU Chapters (any)
ACLU National (all projects)
ACLU of Northern California
ACLU of Southern California
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Pending
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Preliminary injunction / Temp. restraining order
Source of Relief Litigation
Order Duration 2017 - n/a
Case Ongoing Yes
Case Listing IM-CA-0002 : Flores v. Reno [later Meese, Johnson, Kelly, Sessions] (C.D. Cal.)
Additional Resources
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  After a Month of Obstruction by the Trump Administration, Jane Doe Gets Her Abortion
www.aclu.org
Date: Oct. 25, 2017
By: American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  Garza v. Hargan - Challenge to Trump Administration's Attempts to Block Abortions for Young Immigrant Women
www.aclu.org
Date: Oct. 23, 2017
By: American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
1:17-cv-02122-TSC (D.D.C.)
IM-DC-0034-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/28/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint For Injunctive Relief and Damages [ECF# 1]
IM-DC-0034-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/13/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Application For a Temporary Restraining Order [ECF# 3]
IM-DC-0034-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/14/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Emergency Motion to Shorten Defendants' Time In Which to Respond to Plaintiff's Application For a Temporary Restraining Order [ECF# 4]
IM-DC-0034-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/14/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Motion For a Preliminary Injunction [ECF# 5]
IM-DC-0034-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/14/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiff's Motion For Class Certification [ECF# 18]
IM-DC-0034-0005.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/18/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Temporary Restraining Order [ECF# 20] (2017 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 175415) (D.D.C.)
IM-DC-0034-0006.pdf | LEXIS | Detail
Date: 10/18/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Brief For the States of Texas, et al. As Amici Curiae In Support of Appellants and a Stay Pending Appeal [ECF# BL-7]
IM-DC-0034-0007.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/19/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [Ct. of App. ECF# BL-21] (2017 U.S.App.LEXIS 20711)
IM-DC-0034-0017.pdf | LEXIS | Detail
Date: 10/20/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Emergency Petition For Rehearing En Banc to Vacate the Panel's Order and Deny Defendants-Appellants' Motion For an An Emergency Stay [ECF# BL-24]
IM-DC-0034-0008.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/22/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Brief For Amici Curiae States fo New York et al. In Support of Appellee's Motion For Rehearing En Banc [ECF# BL-33]
IM-DC-0034-0009.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/23/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Corrected Brief For Amici Curiae States of New York et al. In Support of Appellee's Motion For Rehearing En Banc [ECF# BL-35]
IM-DC-0034-0010.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/24/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [Ct. of App. ECF# BL-36] (2017 U.S.App.LEXIS 20911)
IM-DC-0034-0016.pdf | LEXIS | Detail
Date: 10/24/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Emergency Motion to Amend the Temporary Restraining Order [ECF# 27]
IM-DC-0034-0013.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/24/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Amended Temporary Restraining Order [ECF# 29] (D.D.C.)
IM-DC-0034-0014.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/24/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiff's Unopposed Motion for Leave for J.D. to Proceed Under Pseudoym [ECF# 33]
IM-DC-0034-0018.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/25/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Defendants' Motion For Briefing on Class Wide Relief and Stay Pending Supreme Court Proceedings [ECF# 44]
IM-DC-0034-0019.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/03/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiff's Opposition to Defendants’ Motion for Briefing on Class-wide Relief and for Stay Pending Supreme Court Appeal [ECF# 46]
IM-DC-0034-0021.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/07/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Defendants' Reply to Plaintiff's Opposition to Defendants' Reply to Plaintiff's Opposition to Defendants' Motion for Briefing on Class Wide Relief and Stay Pending Supreme Court Proceedings [ECF# 49]
IM-DC-0034-0020.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/09/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Defendants' Opposition to Plaintiff's Motion For Class Certification [ECF# 53]
IM-DC-0034-0022.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/20/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiff's Reply in Further Support of Class Certification [ECF# 56]
IM-DC-0034-0023.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/27/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Chutkan, Tanya Sue (D.D.C.)
IM-DC-0034-0006 | IM-DC-0034-0014 | IM-DC-0034-9000
Garland, Merrick B. (D.C. Circuit)
IM-DC-0034-0016
Henderson, Karen LeCraft (D.S.C., D.C. Circuit)
IM-DC-0034-0017
Kavanaugh, Brett M. (D.C. Circuit)
IM-DC-0034-0017
Millett, Patricia Ann (D.C. Circuit)
IM-DC-0034-0017
Plaintiff's Lawyers Amiri, Brigitte A. (New York)
IM-DC-0034-0001 | IM-DC-0034-0002 | IM-DC-0034-0003 | IM-DC-0034-0004 | IM-DC-0034-0005 | IM-DC-0034-0008 | IM-DC-0034-0013 | IM-DC-0034-0018 | IM-DC-0034-0021 | IM-DC-0034-0023 | IM-DC-0034-9000
Burrows, Meagan (New York)
IM-DC-0034-0001 | IM-DC-0034-0002 | IM-DC-0034-0003 | IM-DC-0034-0004 | IM-DC-0034-0005 | IM-DC-0034-0008 | IM-DC-0034-0013 | IM-DC-0034-0018 | IM-DC-0034-0021 | IM-DC-0034-0023
Chou, Jennifer Ling (California)
IM-DC-0034-0001 | IM-DC-0034-0002 | IM-DC-0034-0003 | IM-DC-0034-0004 | IM-DC-0034-0005 | IM-DC-0034-0013 | IM-DC-0034-0018 | IM-DC-0034-0021
Dalven, Jennifer (New York)
IM-DC-0034-0008 | IM-DC-0034-0018 | IM-DC-0034-0021 | IM-DC-0034-0023
Goodman, Melissa (California)
IM-DC-0034-0001 | IM-DC-0034-0002 | IM-DC-0034-0003 | IM-DC-0034-0004 | IM-DC-0034-0005 | IM-DC-0034-0013 | IM-DC-0034-0018 | IM-DC-0034-0021 | IM-DC-0034-0023
Mach, Daniel (District of Columbia)
IM-DC-0034-0001 | IM-DC-0034-0002 | IM-DC-0034-0003 | IM-DC-0034-0004 | IM-DC-0034-0005 | IM-DC-0034-0013 | IM-DC-0034-0018 | IM-DC-0034-0021 | IM-DC-0034-0023 | IM-DC-0034-9000
Michelman, Scott (District of Columbia)
IM-DC-0034-0001 | IM-DC-0034-0002 | IM-DC-0034-0003 | IM-DC-0034-0004 | IM-DC-0034-0005 | IM-DC-0034-0008 | IM-DC-0034-0013 | IM-DC-0034-0018 | IM-DC-0034-0021 | IM-DC-0034-0023 | IM-DC-0034-9000
Spitzer, Arthur (District of Columbia)
IM-DC-0034-0001 | IM-DC-0034-0002 | IM-DC-0034-0003 | IM-DC-0034-0004 | IM-DC-0034-0005 | IM-DC-0034-0008 | IM-DC-0034-0013 | IM-DC-0034-0018 | IM-DC-0034-0021 | IM-DC-0034-0023 | IM-DC-0034-9000
Wroe, Mishan Raini (California)
IM-DC-0034-0001 | IM-DC-0034-0002 | IM-DC-0034-0003 | IM-DC-0034-0004 | IM-DC-0034-0005 | IM-DC-0034-0013 | IM-DC-0034-0018 | IM-DC-0034-0021 | IM-DC-0034-0023
Defendant's Lawyers Consovoy, William S. (District of Columbia)
IM-DC-0034-9000
Darrow, Joseph A. (District of Columbia)
IM-DC-0034-0019 | IM-DC-0034-0022 | IM-DC-0034-9000
Fabian, Sarah B. (District of Columbia)
IM-DC-0034-9000
Flentje, August E. (District of Columbia)
IM-DC-0034-0022
Haas, Alexander K (District of Columbia)
IM-DC-0034-9000
Leo, Sabatino Fioravante (District of Columbia)
IM-DC-0034-0022 | IM-DC-0034-9000
Molina, Ernesto H. Jr. (District of Columbia)
IM-DC-0034-0019 | IM-DC-0034-0020 | IM-DC-0034-0022
Readler, Chad A. (District of Columbia)
IM-DC-0034-0019 | IM-DC-0034-0020 | IM-DC-0034-0022
Sandhu, Papu (District of Columbia)
IM-DC-0034-0019 | IM-DC-0034-0020 | IM-DC-0034-0022
Shieh, Woei-Tyng Daniel (District of Columbia)
IM-DC-0034-0022 | IM-DC-0034-9000
Stewart, Scott Grant (District of Columbia)
IM-DC-0034-9000
Other Lawyers Becerra, Xavier (California)
IM-DC-0034-0010
Chin, Douglas S.G. (Hawaii)
IM-DC-0034-0010
Dasgupta, Anisha (New York)
IM-DC-0034-0009 | IM-DC-0034-0010
Davis, James E. (Texas)
IM-DC-0034-0007
Denn, Matthew P. (Delaware)
IM-DC-0034-0010
DeWine, Michael (Ohio)
IM-DC-0034-0007
Donovan, Thomas J. Jr. (Vermont)
IM-DC-0034-0010
Ferguson, Robert W. (Washington)
IM-DC-0034-0010
Hacker, David J. (Texas)
IM-DC-0034-0007
Hawkins, Kyle (Texas)
IM-DC-0034-0007
Healey, Maura T. (Massachusetts)
IM-DC-0034-0010
Hunter, Mike (Oklahoma)
IM-DC-0034-0007
Jepson, George (Connecticut)
IM-DC-0034-0010
Keller, Scott A. (Texas)
IM-DC-0034-0007 | IM-DC-0034-9000
Landry, Jeff (Louisiana)
IM-DC-0034-0007
Madigan, Lisa (Illinois)
IM-DC-0034-0010
Mateer, Jeffrey C. (Texas)
IM-DC-0034-0007
Miller, Thomas J. (Iowa)
IM-DC-0034-0010
Mills, Janet T. (Maine)
IM-DC-0034-0010
Murdukhayeva, Ester (New York)
IM-DC-0034-0009 | IM-DC-0034-0010
Paxton, Ken (Texas)
IM-DC-0034-0007
Peterson, Doug (Nebraska)
IM-DC-0034-0007
Racine, Karl A. (Maryland)
IM-DC-0034-0010
Rosenblum, Ellen F. (Oregon)
IM-DC-0034-0010
Rutledge, Leslie (Arkansas)
IM-DC-0034-0007
Schneiderman, Eric T. (New York)
IM-DC-0034-0009 | IM-DC-0034-0010
Schuette, Bill (Michigan)
IM-DC-0034-0007
Shapiro, Josh (Pennsylvania)
IM-DC-0034-0010
Starr, Brantley D. (Texas)
IM-DC-0034-0007
Underwood, Barbara D. (District of Columbia)
IM-DC-0034-0009 | IM-DC-0034-0010
Wilson, Alan (South Carolina)
IM-DC-0034-0007

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