University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name City of West Palm Beach v. United States Attorney General IM-FL-0027
Docket / Court 9:18-cv-80131-DMM ( S.D. Fla. )
State/Territory Florida
Case Type(s) Immigration and/or the Border
Special Collection Civil Rights Challenges to Trump Immigration Enforcement Orders
Case Summary
This action, filed on February 6, 2018, challenged the Department of Justice's "sanctuary city" policy tying federal funding to immigration enforcement. The plaintiff, the city of West Palm Beach, Florida ("the City"), sued the DOJ after the DOJ threatened to subpoena the City for records out of ... read more >
This action, filed on February 6, 2018, challenged the Department of Justice's "sanctuary city" policy tying federal funding to immigration enforcement. The plaintiff, the city of West Palm Beach, Florida ("the City"), sued the DOJ after the DOJ threatened to subpoena the City for records out of suspicion that the City might be noncompliant with immigration law and therefore ineligible for federal funding. The City argued it was fully compliant with federal law, and that linking funding to particular immigration laws violated the separation of powers, the Spending Clause, the Tenth Amendment, and the Administrative Procedure Act. The City filed this case in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida. It sought declaratory and injunctive relief.

The City argued that with nearly 27% of its population consisting of foreign-born individuals, immigrants were "an integral part of the City’s" civic, academic, and labor communities, and that the City depended on its immigrant population. In March 2017, the complaint explained, the City adopted a resolution seeking to keep information related to one's immigration and citizenship status private while expressly providing that federal laws superseded the resolution. The City's goal was "to foster trust between the immigrant population and City officials and employees, and to encourage people of all backgrounds to take full advantage of the City’s resources and opportunities."

Separately, the complaint explained that it had received nearly $400,000 in federal Byrne JAG funding since 2006. The City argued that starting November 2017, the DOJ began targeting it for alleged compliance issues with 8 U.S.C. § 1373, which prohibits localities from interfering with certain federal immigration enforcement measures. On January 25, 2017, President Trump issued an executive order tying federal funds to compliance with § 1373. The complaint stated that in a letter sent to the City in November 2017, the DOJ requested information addressing the status of the City's compliance with § 1373 and eligibility for Byrne JAG funding. The City responded to the letter to affirm its compliance and eligibility. In January 2018, the DOJ sent another letter indicating the City may be out of compliance and requesting that the City send documents relevant to the inquiry and that failure to do so would result in a subpoena.

Ultimately, the City argued that the DOJ had no statutory authority for imposing such conditions on the Byrne JAG grant. Even if Congress did intend to so authorize the DOJ, requiring certification of compliance with § 1373 violated the Spending Clause. Moreover, the City argued that its Resolution and laws were fully compliant with federal law, and that it was not a "sanctuary city."

On February 21, the City moved for preliminary injunction, seeking a declaration that it was compliant with § 1373. Shortly thereafter, the parties entered into mediation. On March 23, the parties indicated they had reached a settlement. The DOJ declared that the City was in compliance with federal law, and that it was therefore eligible for the federal grant. The City agreed to end the litigation and subsequently issued a memorandum to city employees clarifying that its laws did not preclude sharing information with federal immigration officials. The parties filed a joint stipulation of dismissal on March 28, and the court ordered the case closed the next day.

The case is now closed. The settlement agreement is not currently publicly available, though this page will be updated if becomes available.

Virginia Weeks - 03/30/2018


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Federalism
General
Funding
Immigration/Border
Sanctuary city/state
Plaintiff Type
City/County Plaintiff
Causes of Action Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. §§ 551 et seq.
Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201
Defendant(s) U.S. Department of Justice
Plaintiff Description City of West Palm Beach, Florida
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Mixed
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
declaratory settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Private Settlement Agreement
Filing Year 2018
Case Closing Year 2018
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
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  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)
9:18-cv-80131-DMM (S.D. Fla.)
IM-FL-0027-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/29/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint for Declaratory Judgment and Injunctive Relief [ECF# 1]
IM-FL-0027-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 02/06/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Brannon, Dave Lee Court not on record [Magistrate]
IM-FL-0027-9000
Middlebrooks, Donald M. (S.D. Fla.)
IM-FL-0027-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Brown, Alison K. (Florida)
IM-FL-0027-0001 | IM-FL-0027-9000
Fresco, Leon (District of Columbia)
IM-FL-0027-0001 | IM-FL-0027-9000
Rothenburg, Kimberly L. (Florida)
IM-FL-0027-0001
Defendant's Lawyers Erickson−Pogorzelski, Anthony (District of Columbia)
IM-FL-0027-9000
Konkoly, Antonia (District of Columbia)
IM-FL-0027-9000

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