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Case Name Trinh v. Homan IM-CA-0115
Docket / Court 8:18-cv-00316 ( C.D. Cal. )
State/Territory California
Case Type(s) Immigration and/or the Border
Special Collection Trump Immigration Enforcement Order Challenges
Post-WalMart decisions on class certification
Attorney Organization Asian Americans Advancing Justice / AAJC
Case Summary
On February 22, 2018, four Vietnamese refugees filed this habeas petition and class action lawsuit challenging U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for allegedly arbitrarily and unlawfully detaining them.

In January 2008, the United States and Vietnam entered an agreement ... read more >
On February 22, 2018, four Vietnamese refugees filed this habeas petition and class action lawsuit challenging U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for allegedly arbitrarily and unlawfully detaining them.

In January 2008, the United States and Vietnam entered an agreement governing the repatriation of Vietnamese nationals facing final orders of removal to Vietnam. One limit made part of the agreement was Vietnam's decision not to agree to repatriation of any national who had arrived in the United States before July 12, 1995. As a result, from 2008-2016, ICE maintained a policy of releasing Vietnamese nationals facing final orders of removal from ICE custody, given the impracticability of their deportation. However, in 2016, ICE reversed its policy, detaining Vietnamese nationals with final orders of removal indefinitely.

In the original complaint, the petitioners argued that this change in policy violated 8 U.S.C. § 1231, which prescribes a 90-day "removal period" in which to remove the detainee. Petitioners relied heavily upon the Supreme Court's 2001 opinion in Zadvydas v. Davis (533 U.S. 678), which held that Due Process precludes the United States from indefinitely detaining immigrants for whom it is not "reasonably foreseeable" that deportation can occur. In addition, petitioners argued that failing to provide an individualized assessment as to whether or not detention is even necessary, due to danger or flight risk, also violated 8 U.S.C. § 1231 and Due Process. Petitioners sought habeas, declaratory, and injunctive relief. Represented by Asian Americans Advancing Justice and the private law firms Reed Smith and Davis Adams, the habeas petition was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California (in Santa Ana).

The petition proposed three classes of Vietnamese refugees held after receiving final orders of removal: those detained for more than 90 days (90-day class), those detained for more than 180 days (180-day class), and those detained for longer than 180 days without an individualized hearing to assess whether detention is necessary based on danger or flight risk (prolonged detention class). All class members arrived in the U.S. before 1995 and had lived in the United States as legal permanent residents (LPR) ever since. Class members faced removal proceedings after becoming involved with the criminal justice system and losing their LPR status.

The case was initially assigned to Judge John A. Kronstadt. However, the plaintiffs in Chhoeun v. Marin, a case challenging ICE's detention of Cambodian refugees stripped of their legal permanent resident status due to criminal convictions, moved to relate this case to that one. On March 14, 2018, the motion was granted, and both cases were assigned to Judge Cormac J. Carney.

On April 25, 2018, the petitioners moved for a preliminary injunction to secure the release of the named defendants. However, soon thereafter, ICE released them from detention, mooting the motion. At this point, the government moved to dismiss the petition, arguing that its claims were now moot. Petitioners responded by filing an amended complaint, acknowledging that the original named petitioners had been released from ICE custody and adding new named petitioners who were in ICE detention at the time of filing.

In light of the amended complaint, Judge Cormac J. Carney dismissed the motion for a preliminary injunction on May 23, 2018, simply noting that the injunction was superseded by the new complaint and that the need for release no longer applied to the named petitioners in the original complaint. 2018 WL 3357577.

Judge Carney denied the government’s motion to dismiss on September 6, 2018. 333 F. Supp. 3d 984. The court held that the petitioners' claims were not moot because, although the named petitioners were released from detention, they could still be re-detained at any time and therefore still had a live habeas relief interest. The court also held that the petitioners had successfully pleaded claims upon which relief could be granted as to their assertions that their post-removal order detention was unlawful when removal was not likely in the foreseeable future and that detentions over six months without individualized bond hearings are unlawful.

On October 18, 2018, Judge Carney granted in part and denied in part class certification, granting certification to the 90-day and 180-day classes only as to the declaratory "issues of whether the Class has overcome the six month presumption of reasonableness and met its burden under Zadvydas [v. Davis (533 U.S. 678)]," declining to certify on the injunctive issue that would have limited the government's authority to detain immigrants past 180 days. The court furthermore certified the prolonged detention class, seeking injunctive relief to compel bond hearings for the detainees. 2018 WL 11184556.

After a year and a half of discovery, the petitioners moved for summary judgment on March 6, 2020, and the government cross-filed a month later on April 10. On June 11, 2020, the government's motion was granted in substantial part, settling all of the declaratory issues in favor of the government. Judge Carney's opinion repeatedly noted the validity of the petitioners' arguments, writing that "many class members may be able to show that there is 'good reason to believe' their removal is unlikely" but concluded that sweeping declarations as such would be inappropriate where individualized, fact-intensive review is the norm, noting that Zadvydas claims are usually made in individual habeas hearings.

Following this ruling, the petitioners moved to reconsider but then withdrew their motion. From there, the case went silent until May 5, 2021 when Judge Carney ordered the parties to show cause as to why the case should not be dismissed and closed. The petitioners have since responded to that order; however the contents of their response have been sealed for reasons unknown. It is unclear how the change from the Trump presidential administration to the Biden administration has affected this case. Under the Biden administration, on March 15, 2021, 33 Vietnamese nationals, including at least one who arrived in the United States before 1995, were deported to Vietnam. The case is ongoing.

Ava Morgenstern - 05/05/2018
Ellen Aldin - 06/08/2020
Eilidh Jenness - 04/07/2021
Sean Drohan - 07/20/2021


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Due Process: Procedural Due Process
Defendant-type
Law-enforcement
General
Habeas Corpus
Over/Unlawful Detention
Placement in detention facilities
Immigration/Border
Constitutional rights
Criminal prosecution
Deportation - criteria
Deportation - judicial review
Deportation - procedure
Detention - conditions
Detention - criteria
Detention - procedures
Refugees
Status/Classification
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Special Case Type
Habeas
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. §§ 551 et seq.
Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201
Ex parte Young (federal or state officials)
Ex Parte Young (Federal) or Bivens
Habeas Corpus, 28 U.S.C. §§ 2241-2253; 2254; 2255
Mandamus, 28 U.S.C. § 1361
Defendant(s) Orange County (CA) Sheriff
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
U.S. Department of Justice
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement
Plaintiff Description Vietnamese immigrants who arrived in the U.S. before July 12, 1995 and have been or will be detained indefinitely pursuant to a final removal order.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations Asian Americans Advancing Justice / AAJC
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status outcome Granted
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief None yet
Source of Relief None yet
Filed 02/22/2018
Case Ongoing Yes
Case Listing IM-CA-0108 : Chhoeun v. Marin (C.D. Cal.)
Additional Resources
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  See this case at CourtListener.com (May provide additional documents and, for active cases, real-time alerts)
  Trinh v. Homan: the Indefinite Detention of Vietnamese Refugees in the 21st Century
Southern California Review of Law and Social Justice
Date: 2021
By: Trinh Truong (University of Southern California Gould School of Law Law Student)
Citation: 30 S. Cal. Rev. of L. & Soc. Just. 415
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  Immigrant Rights Advocates Sue ICE to Stop Illegal Incarceration of Vietnamese Refugees
www.advancingjustice-la.org
Date: Feb. 28, 2018
By: Asian Americans Advancing Justice - Los Angeles
[ 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 ]

Court Docket(s)
C.D. Cal.
07/13/2021
8:18-cv-00316
IM-CA-0115-9000.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
C.D. Cal.
02/22/2018
Habeas Corpus Class Action Petition and Class Action Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief [ECF# 1]
IM-CA-0115-0001.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
C.D. Cal.
05/11/2018
First Amended Habeas Corpus Class Action Petition and Class Action Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief [ECF# 27]
IM-CA-0115-0005.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
C.D. Cal.
05/23/2018
Order Denying Without Prejudice Petitioners' Motion for a Preliminary Injunction and for Provisional Class Certification [ECF# 40] (2018 WL 3357577)
IM-CA-0115-0004.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
C.D. Cal.
09/06/2018
Order Denying Defendants' Motion to Dismiss and Habeas Return [ECF# 66] (333 F.Supp.3d 984)
IM-CA-0115-0002.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
C.D. Cal.
10/18/2018
Order Denying in Part and Denying in Part Petitioners' Motion for Class Certification [ECF# 75] (2018 WL 11184556)
IM-CA-0115-0003.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
C.D. Cal.
06/11/2020
Order on Cross Motions for Summary Judgment [Dkts. 119, 124] [ECF# 146] (466 F.Supp.3d 1077)
IM-CA-0115-0006.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Carney, Cormac J. (C.D. Cal.) show/hide docs
IM-CA-0115-0002 | IM-CA-0115-0003 | IM-CA-0115-0004 | IM-CA-0115-0006 | IM-CA-0115-9000
Standish, Gail J. Court not on record [Magistrate] show/hide docs
IM-CA-0115-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Butler, Christopher M. (California) show/hide docs
IM-CA-0115-0001 | IM-CA-0115-0005 | IM-CA-0115-9000
Cardozo, Raymond A. (California) show/hide docs
IM-CA-0115-9000
Davis, Jesse Anderson (Georgia) show/hide docs
IM-CA-0115-0001 | IM-CA-0115-0005 | IM-CA-0115-9000
Derderian, Patil (California) show/hide docs
IM-CA-0115-0001 | IM-CA-0115-0005 | IM-CA-0115-9000
Duong, Le T. (California) show/hide docs
IM-CA-0115-9000
Hoq, Laboni Amena (California) show/hide docs
IM-CA-0115-0001 | IM-CA-0115-0005 | IM-CA-0115-9000
Kao, Winifred (California) show/hide docs
IM-CA-0115-0001 | IM-CA-0115-0005 | IM-CA-0115-9000
Kim, Melanie Chun-Yu (California) show/hide docs
IM-CA-0115-0001 | IM-CA-0115-0005 | IM-CA-0115-9000
Lapinig, Christopher M. (California) show/hide docs
IM-CA-0115-0001 | IM-CA-0115-0005 | IM-CA-0115-9000
Lo, Kevin Chun Hoi (California) show/hide docs
IM-CA-0115-0001 | IM-CA-0115-0005 | IM-CA-0115-9000
Nguyen, Phi U. (Georgia) show/hide docs
IM-CA-0115-0001 | IM-CA-0115-0005 | IM-CA-0115-9000
Prasad, Anoop (California) show/hide docs
IM-CA-0115-0001 | IM-CA-0115-0005 | IM-CA-0115-9000
Tabibkhoei, Farah (California) show/hide docs
IM-CA-0115-0001 | IM-CA-0115-0005 | IM-CA-0115-9000
Uong, Tuan Van (California) show/hide docs
IM-CA-0115-0001 | IM-CA-0115-0005 | IM-CA-0115-9000
Wood, Jarrad Lucian (California) show/hide docs
IM-CA-0115-9000
Zhao, Jingni (California) show/hide docs
IM-CA-0115-0001 | IM-CA-0115-0005 | IM-CA-0115-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Chen, Hans (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-CA-0115-9000
Kurz, Julian (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-CA-0115-9000
Liggett, Troy D. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-CA-0115-9000
Miller, Steven C. (California) show/hide docs
IM-CA-0115-9000

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