University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Center for Investigative Reporting v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security IM-CA-0110
Docket / Court 3:17-cv-07204-EDL ( N.D. Cal. )
State/Territory California
Case Type(s) Immigration and/or the Border
Special Collection Trump Administration FOIA cases
Case Summary
On Dec. 19, 2017, the Center for Investigative Reporting (CIR) and one of its journalists brought this suit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. Represented by its own counsel, the plaintiffs sued the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) under the Freedom of ... read more >
On Dec. 19, 2017, the Center for Investigative Reporting (CIR) and one of its journalists brought this suit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. Represented by its own counsel, the plaintiffs sued the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

The organizational plaintiff is a national nonprofit investigative news organization. The individual plaintiff is one of its staff reporters. Plaintiffs sought information on expedited removal, a process by which an immigration enforcement official may remove a noncitizen from the United States, without a hearing before an Immigration Judge or review by the Board of Immigration Appeals. Expedited removal currently applies to noncitizens who entered without inspection and who were apprehended within 100 miles of the border and within two weeks of arrival in the country.

Plaintiffs alleged that the Trump Administration's Jan. 25, 2017 Executive Order 13767, which instructed the DHS Secretary to apply expedited removal to the fullest extent of the law, had raised public concern about the fairness of the procedure. The plaintiffs sought to produce news reports on the topic.

The complaint alleged that on June 14, 2017, plaintiffs had submitted a FOIA request to defendant seeking materials since 2012 instructing U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) on the following procedures:
1. Issuing expedited removal orders;
2. Reviewing expedited removal orders;
3. Identifying individuals with facially-valid visas who may receive an expedited removal order because they intend to immigrate;
4. Identifying asylum seekers;
5. Identifying individuals who have not been continuously physically present in the United States for at least two weeks;
6. Understanding evidence that individuals may introduce to demonstrate they should not be subject to expedited removal;
7. Identifying lawful permanent residents (LPR), U.S. citizens, or individuals admitted as refugees or previously granted asylum;
8. Handling cases of suspected asylum fraud;
9. Handling cases of suspected fraud in claiming LPR, U.S. citizen, refugee, or asylee status;
10. Rescinding an expedited removal order;
11. Allowing withdrawal of a request for admission;
12. Using prosecutorial discretion in expedited removal;
13. Handling claims of U.S. citizenship; and
14. Handling individuals' requests to contact attorneys or consulates.

The complaint further alleged that at the time of filing, the plaintiffs had not received a substantive response from defendant. Plaintiffs sought a disclosure order under FOIA, legal fees, and expedited action.

On Dec. 19, 2017, the case was assigned to Magistrate Judge Elizabeth D. Laporte. A case management statement was due by Mar. 13, 2018, with a case management conference scheduled for Mar. 20.

The plaintiff filed an amended complaint on Jan. 23. The organization reported that since it filed the suit, the defendant had located but had still not released responsive documents. On Mar. 13, the parties filed a joint case management statement, in which the defendant maintained it had already complied with the request in full but would meet with the plaintiff about the requested additional documents.

The parties entered into alternative dispute resolution. On September 18, 2018, the parties filed stipulation of dismissal. The plaintiffs voluntarily dismissed the claim with prejudice. Each party bore its own costs and fees. The case is now closed.

Ava Morgenstern - 04/07/2018
Virginia Weeks - 09/21/2018
Richa Bijlani - 11/07/2019

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Issues and Causes of Action
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Access to lawyers or judicial system
Classification / placement
Failure to train
Inadequate citizen complaint investigations and procedures
Over/Unlawful Detention
Placement in detention facilities
Records Disclosure
Staff (number, training, qualifications, wages)
Asylum - criteria
Asylum - procedure
Border police
Constitutional rights
Deportation - criteria
Deportation - judicial review
Deportation - procedure
Detention - procedures
Immigration lawyers
U.S. citizenship - losing
Undocumented immigrants - rights and duties
Visas - procedures
Plaintiff Type
Non-profit NON-religious organization
Type of Facility
Causes of Action Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. ยง 552
Defendant(s) U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Plaintiff Description Nonprofit investigative journalism organization
Class action status sought No
Class action status outcome Not sought
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Document disclosure
Source of Relief Unknown
Form of Settlement Voluntary Dismissal
Filed 12/19/2017
Case Closing Year 2018
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
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  See this case at (May provide additional documents and, for active cases, real-time alerts)
  DHS Hit With FOIA Suit Over Expedited Removal Procedures
Date: Dec. 20, 2017
By: Tiffany Hu
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  Reveal: Expedited Removal
Date: Oct. 28, 2017
By: Center for Investigative Reporting
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Court Docket(s)
N.D. Cal.
IM-CA-0110-9000.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
N.D. Cal.
Complaint for Injunctive Relief [ECF# 1]
IM-CA-0110-0001.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
N.D. Cal.
Amended Complaint for Injunctive Relief [ECF# 8]
IM-CA-0110-0002.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Laporte, Elizabeth D. (N.D. Cal.) [Magistrate] show/hide docs
Plaintiff's Lawyers Baranetsky, Diana Victoria (New York) show/hide docs
IM-CA-0110-0001 | IM-CA-0110-0002 | IM-CA-0110-9000

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