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Case Name Trustees of Princeton University v. U.S.A. IM-DC-0038
Docket / Court 1:17-cv-02325 ( D.D.C. )
State/Territory District of Columbia
Case Type(s) Immigration and/or the Border
Special Collection Civil Rights Challenges to Trump Immigration Enforcement Orders
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Case Summary
This lawsuit, brought on November 3, 2017 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, challenged President Trump’s revocation of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. The plaintiffs were Microsoft, the Trustees of Princeton University, and a DACA recipient ... read more >
This lawsuit, brought on November 3, 2017 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, challenged President Trump’s revocation of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. The plaintiffs were Microsoft, the Trustees of Princeton University, and a DACA recipient attending Princeton University as an undergraduate. The plaintiffs benefited from and relied upon DACA in various ways, and they argued that its termination violated the Administrative Procedure Act and the Fifth Amendment’s equal protection and due process guarantees. The plaintiffs sought declaratory and injunctive relief.

In 2012, the Obama administration created the DACA program through policy statements by the Department of Homeland Security. 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 would end the program in March 2018 unless Congress acted to provide statutory authorization for the program. As the complaint highlighted, in promoting DACA, the Obama administration had 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.

In addition to the individual plaintiff’s reliance on DACA, the complaint argued that Princeton and Microsoft benefited from and relied upon the contributions DACA recipients made as students and employees. They argued that the termination of the DACA program would put DACA recipients at risk for deportation, loss of benefits, and having the information they used to enroll in DACA used against them. The rescission would also cost Princeton and Microsoft the contributions of students and employees who had been able to join those communities because of DACA. Moreover, Princeton and Microsoft would lose the return on their investment given the resources put into students and employees, diversity in their communities, and competitive edge in the world. Ultimately, the plaintiffs argued, the DACA rescission would lead to “loss of opportunity in the United States.” Further, the complaint indicated that the rationale for terminating the program was confusing and at odds with other administration policies and views.

The case was assigned to Judge Christopher R. Cooper and marked as related to NAACP v. Trump on November 3, 2017 (these two cases were later consolidated).

On November 22, 2017, the defendants moved for dismissal or, in the alternative, summary judgment. They argued that the case was not justiciable because “[t]he Rescission Policy is a classic exercise of enforcement discretion ‘presumed immune from judicial review.’” Further, they argued that the complaint failed on the merits because DACA was “indistinguishable” from DAPA (“Deferred Action for Parents of Americans”), a related program which had never been implemented due to a nationwide injunction from the Fifth Circuit. The defendants argued they had provided a rational explanation for their policy change, that the rescission did not require notice-and-comment rulemaking, and that DACA recipients had no constitutional right to deferred action.

On December 15, 2017, the plaintiffs moved for summary judgment and/or preliminary injunction. They argued that the rescission of DACA violated the Administrative Procedure Act, because the government had not offered legal analysis for its decision to rescind, and because the government had ignored the reliance that millions of people had placed on DACA. Recognizing that DACA recipients had provided personal information to the government as part of the DACA program, the plaintiffs sought to bar the government from using such information for current enforcement purposes.

The court received amicus briefs from nearly 200 individuals and organizations, including:
  • 120 businesses, from Ben & Jerry’s to Levi Strauss to Google;
  • 20 current and former heads of law enforcement agencies, from Salt Lake City to Seattle to Storm Lake, Iowa;
  • more than a dozen legal services organizations; and
  • 50 institutions of higher education, from the University of Michigan to the San Francisco Community College District.
On January 3, 2018, the case was reassigned to Judge John D. Bates. This case was consolidated with NAACP v. Trump (U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, Docket No. 17-1907) on January 18, with this case as the lead case.

On April 24, 2018, the court dismissed the the plaintiffs’ procedural APA and information-sharing claims, and sustained the substantive APA and constitutional claims. The court held that DHS had violated the APA, finding that the rescission of DACA was arbitrary and capricious because “[n]either the meager legal reasoning nor the assessment of litigation risk provided by DHS to support its rescission decision is sufficient to sustain termination of the DACA program.” The court vacated DHS’s decision to rescind DACA, ordering DHS to accept and process new and renewal DACA applications. However, the court stayed its vacatur order for 90 days, “to allow the agency an opportunity to better explain its rescission decision.”

The government moved to have the court revise the order, but the court denied the motion on August 3, 2018, holding that although the government had provided additional information regarding its decision to rescind DACA, it had “fail[ed] to elaborate meaningfully on the agency’s primary rationale for its decision.” Instead, the government had simply “repackaged” its previous legal arguments, and inappropriately added post hoc rationalizations to justify its actions.

The government appealed to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals on August 6, 2018. Oral argument was held on February 22, 2019 before Judges Griffith, Millett, and Edwards.

On August 14, 2019, the government filed a motion for the district court to stay its April 24 decision, pending the appeal in the D.C. Circuit, and a motion to clarify that the plaintiffs’ remaining constitutional claims were moot. The district court granted the motion to clarify on August 17, 2019. It also granted the motion for a stay, but only as to new DACA applications and applications for advance parole; the court’s order for DHS to process DACA renewal applications remained in effect.

While the government’s appeal was pending in the D.C. Circuit, the government also appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. On June 28, 2019, the Supreme Court agreed to hear the appeal, consolidating this case with Batalla Vidal v. Nielsen and Regents of University of California v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The three consolidated cases were heard under the caption of Department of Homeland Security v. Regents of the University of California.

The Court heard oral argument on November 12, 2019. On June 18, 2020, it ruled in favor of the plaintiffs in all three cases, affirming the judgment of the district court in this case.

As a result, on July 23, 2020, the D.C. Circuit remanded the case to the district court, with instructions to remand to the Department of Homeland Security for further action consistent with the opinion of the Supreme Court. The district court remanded the same day. As of August 14, 2020, further action by DHS is pending.

Virginia Weeks - 11/07/2017
Virginia Weeks - 08/17/2018
Eva Richardson - 05/20/2019


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Benefit Source
DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals)
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Equal Protection
Content of Injunction
Preliminary relief granted
Defendant-type
Jurisdiction-wide
Discrimination-basis
National origin discrimination
Immigration/Border
Deportation - criteria
Deportation - procedure
Legalization/Amnesty
Status/Classification
Undocumented immigrants - rights and duties
Work authorization - criteria
Plaintiff Type
Closely-held (for profit) corporation
Non-profit NON-religious organization
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 Individual DACA recipient, Princeton University, and Microsoft Corporation
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief Preliminary injunction / Temp. restraining order
Declaratory Judgment
Source of Relief Litigation
Filed 11/03/2017
Case Ongoing Yes
Case Listing IM-DC-0032 : National Association for the Advancement of Colored People v. Trump (D.D.C.)
Additional Resources
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  See this case at CourtListener.com (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)
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)
1:17-cv-02325-CRC (D.D.C.)
IM-DC-0038-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/05/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief [ECF# 1]
IM-DC-0038-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/03/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Amicus Curiae Brief of the Immigration Reform Law Institute in Support of Defendants [ECF# 29]
IM-DC-0038-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/12/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiffs' Motion for Summary Judgment and/or Preliminary Injunction [ECF# 28]
IM-DC-0038-0008.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/15/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Brief Amici Curiae of Current and Former Law Enforcement Leaders in Support of Plaintiffs' Motion For Summary Judgment and/or Preliminary Injunction [ECF# 30]
IM-DC-0038-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/15/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Brief of Legal Services Organizations as Amici Curiae in Support of Plaintiffs' Motion for Summary Judgment and/or Preliminary Injunction [ECF# 32]
IM-DC-0038-0005.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/15/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Amici Curiae Brief of Institutions of Higher Education in Support of Plaintiffs' Motion for Summary Judgment and/or Preliminary Injunction [ECF# 33]
IM-DC-0038-0006.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/15/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Eighteen Universities in Support of the Trustees of Princeton university, Microsoft Corporation, and Maria de la Cruz Perales Sanchez's Motion for Summary Judgment and/or Injunctive Relief [ECF# 34]
IM-DC-0038-0007.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/15/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Amicus Brief of 112 Companies in Support of Plaintiffs' Motion for Summary Judgment and/or Preliminary Injunction [ECF# 31]
IM-DC-0038-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/19/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum Opinion [ECF# 70] (298 F.Supp.3d 209) (D.D.C.)
IM-DC-0038-0009.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 04/24/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum Opinion [ECF# 78] (2018 WL 3702588) (D.D.C.)
IM-DC-0038-0010.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 08/03/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
[Opinion] (140 S.Ct. 1891)
IM-DC-0038-0012.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 06/18/2020
Source: Supreme Court website
Order
IM-DC-0038-0011.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/23/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Alito, Samuel A. Jr. (Third Circuit, SCOTUS) show/hide docs
IM-DC-0038-0012
Bates, John D. (D.C. Circuit, FISC, D.D.C.) show/hide docs
IM-DC-0038-0009 | IM-DC-0038-0010 | IM-DC-0038-9000
Edwards, Harry Thomas (D.C. Circuit) show/hide docs
IM-DC-0038-0011
Griffith, Thomas Beall (D.C. Circuit) show/hide docs
IM-DC-0038-0011
Kavanaugh, Brett M. (D.C. Circuit, SCOTUS) show/hide docs
IM-DC-0038-0012
Millett, Patricia Ann (D.C. Circuit) show/hide docs
IM-DC-0038-0011
Roberts, John Glover Jr. (D.C. Circuit, SCOTUS) show/hide docs
IM-DC-0038-0012
Sotomayor, Sonia (S.D.N.Y., Second Circuit, SCOTUS) show/hide docs
IM-DC-0038-0012
Thomas, Clarence (D.C. Circuit, SCOTUS) show/hide docs
IM-DC-0038-0012
Plaintiff's Lawyers Bhabha, Ishan K (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-DC-0038-0008
Eidelson, Ben (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-DC-0038-0008
Goldman, Lauren R (New York) show/hide docs
IM-DC-0038-0004 | IM-DC-0038-9000
Harrison, Lindsay C (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-DC-0038-0008 | IM-DC-0038-9000
Hirsch, Sam (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-DC-0038-0008
Horwitz, Julia (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
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McNamara, Douglas J. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-DC-0038-9000
Perrelli, Thomas J. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-DC-0038-0001 | IM-DC-0038-0008 | IM-DC-0038-9000
Selesnick, Julie S. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-DC-0038-0008 | IM-DC-0038-9000
Sellers, Joseph Marc (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-DC-0038-0008 | IM-DC-0038-9000
Trepp, Alex (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-DC-0038-0008
Defendant's Lawyers Bailey, Kate (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
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Davis, Kathryn Celia (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
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Lucas, Gerald Brinton (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
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Pezzi, Stephen M. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
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Thorp, Galen N. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
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Westmoreland, Rachel Lynn (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
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Other Lawyers Alger, Maureen P. (California) show/hide docs
IM-DC-0038-0005
Anyanwu, Chidera (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
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Axelrod, Julie B. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
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Badlani, Chirag (Illinois) show/hide docs
IM-DC-0038-0003
Callais, Amanda R. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-DC-0038-0006
Carome, Patrick J. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-DC-0038-0004 | IM-DC-0038-9000
Coston, William D. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
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Geltzer, Joshua A. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-DC-0038-0003 | IM-DC-0038-9000
Gray, Danielle C. (New York) show/hide docs
IM-DC-0038-0007 | IM-DC-0038-9000
Greenbaum, Jon M. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-DC-0038-9000
Hacker, Jonathan D (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-DC-0038-0007 | IM-DC-0038-9000
Hajec, Christopher J. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-DC-0038-0002
Hohenstein, Elizabeth A. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-DC-0038-0002
Holtzblatt, Ari (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-DC-0038-0004 | IM-DC-0038-9000
Lederer, Caryn C (Illinois) show/hide docs
IM-DC-0038-0003
Levine, Paul Marc (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
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Li, Joan Renxin (California) show/hide docs
IM-DC-0038-0005
Lin, Karen (New York) show/hide docs
IM-DC-0038-0004 | IM-DC-0038-9000
Lopez, Janine Marie (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
IM-DC-0038-0004
Lopez, Janine M (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-DC-0038-9000
Piers, Matthew J. (Illinois) show/hide docs
IM-DC-0038-0003
Pincus, Andrew J. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-DC-0038-0004 | IM-DC-0038-9000
Scherb, Matthew Alex (California) show/hide docs
IM-DC-0038-9000
Schneider, Rory K. (New York) show/hide docs
IM-DC-0038-0004 | IM-DC-0038-9000
Sherman, Monique R (California) show/hide docs
IM-DC-0038-0005
Siegel, Joshua M. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
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Sokoler, Jennifer B (New York) show/hide docs
IM-DC-0038-0007 | IM-DC-0038-9000
Spiva, Bruce V. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-DC-0038-9000
Waxman, Seth (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-DC-0038-0004 | IM-DC-0038-9000
Wilson, Kara Corinne (New York) show/hide docs
IM-DC-0038-0005

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