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Case Name Muslim Advocates v. U.S. Department of Justice IM-CA-0118
Docket / Court 3:18-cv-02137-JSC ( N.D. Cal. )
State/Territory California
Case Type(s) Immigration and/or the Border
Special Collection Civil Rights Challenges to Trump Refugee/Visa Order
Attorney Organization Muslim Advocates
Case Summary
This suit, filed on April 9, 2018, challenged a report created and issued by defendants the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Executive Order 13780: Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States required this report, ... read more >
This suit, filed on April 9, 2018, challenged a report created and issued by defendants the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Executive Order 13780: Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States required this report, known as the Initial Section 11 Report. Muslim Advocates—a nonprofit organization—filed the complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, arguing that the report was biased and misleading against Muslims and the threat they pose to the United States. The plaintiff claimed this further stigmatized Muslims in the U.S. while stoking anti-Muslim sentiments and filed the complaint under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) for violations of the Information Quality Act (IQA). Specifically, the plaintiff sought a retraction and correction of the report to bring it in compliance with the IQA. The case was assigned to Magistrate Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley.

The IQA and its implementing guidelines required that when federal agencies publish information to the public, the information meet threshold levels of quality, objectivity, utility, and integrity. Executive Order 13780 ("the EO"), which President Trump signed on March 6, 2017, significantly restricted individuals from six Muslim-majority countries from being able to enter the U.S. Further, Section 11 of the EO required DHS, in consultation with the DOJ, to collect and publish information regarding foreign nationals and terrorism. This requirement included information on foreign nationals who have participated in terrorism-related activities in the U.S., foreign nationals who have become radicalized since entering the U.S., honor killings, and "any other information relevant to public safety and security." According to the complaint, the report misled the public in several ways: (1) by focusing on international terrorism thereby artificially inflating the proportion of terrorist incidents committed by foreign nationals relative to native born citizens, (2) by including individuals who committed acts of terror abroad but had minimal ties to the U.S., and (3) by counting foreign-born individuals rather than foreign nationals in its figures. The plaintiff argued that such misleading information perpetuated the Trump administration's discrimination against Muslims as well as general anti-Muslim stereotypes and sentiments. As such, the plaintiff argued that the report was harmful to Muslim communities.

On April 10, 2018, the case was assigned to Magistrate Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley.

On August 2, 2018, the defendants filed a motion to dismiss the plaintiff's claims on the grounds that the plaintiff lacked standing and did not have a right of action under the IQA. On August 22, the defendants requested the court to stay the case because their IQA guidelines allow petitioners to submit an administrative appeal of IQA responses. On August 23, 2018, Magistrate Judge Corley ordered the matter stayed until November 28, 2018.

On November 29, 2018, Magistrate Judge Corley ordered the matter further stayed pending the plaintiff's administrative appeal and a joint status report.

The parties stipulated that the stay would expire on February 19, 2019. The defendants issued its final response in the plaintiff's administrative appeal in the week of February 18, 2019.

On April 1, 2019, the plaintiff filed its first amended complaint to include a summary of the administrative appeal. The plaintiff asserted that in its final response in the administrative appeal, defendants admitted that "the information quality concerns raised by plaintiff have merit" and that “information in the Report could be criticized by some readers, consistent with some of the concerns" raised by the plaintiff. The plaintiff contended that despite these concessions, defendants declined to retract or correct the report and continue to disseminate it, in violation of the IQA.

On April 29, 2019, the defendants filed a motion to dismiss the plaintiff's first amended complaint for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, or alternatively for failure to state a claim. The defendants asserted that every court to have considered a claim alleging a violation of the IQA has rejected it, reasoning that third-parties have no basis to enforce legal rights under the IQA. The defendants further alleged that the plaintiff lacked standing, as the plaintiff was unable to establish an injury in fact that is traceable to the report and that the plaintiff's claim was unlikely to be redressed by a favorable judicial decision. The defendants last argued that its responses to the plaintiff's administrative appeal do not constitute "final agency action" and are thus not reviewable under the APA.

On July 19, 2019, Magistrate Judge Corley issued an order granting the defendant's motion to dismiss the plaintiff's complaint for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. Judge Corley held that the plaintiff did not adequately state a claim because its claim, premised on alleged violations of the IQA, was not subject to judicial review under the APA. Judge Corley was inclined to order that the complaint be dismissed without leave to amend, as there was nothing to suggest that the plaintiff could amend its complaint to correct the deficiencies noted by defendants. However, Judge Corley granted the plaintiff 30 days leave to file an amended complaint. 2019 WL 3254230.

On September 16, 2019, Judge Corley entered final judgment in favor of the defendants and against the plaintiff after plaintiff did not file an amended complaint by the August 19, 2019 deadline.

Plaintiff has not filed an appeal of the district court's final judgment and the case is now closed.

Virginia Weeks - 05/22/2018
Dawn Lui - 10/15/2018
Aaron Gurley - 02/16/2020


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Defendant-type
Law-enforcement
Discrimination-basis
Immigration status
National origin discrimination
Religion discrimination
General
Classification / placement
Disparate Impact
Disparate Treatment
Incident/accident reporting & investigations
Racial profiling
Record-keeping
Records Disclosure
Terrorism/Post 9-11 issues
Immigration/Border
Status/Classification
National Origin/Ethnicity
Arab/Afgani/Middle Eastern
Plaintiff Type
Non-profit NON-religious organization
Causes of Action Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. §§ 551 et seq.
Defendant(s) U.S. Department of Homeland Security
U.S. Department of Justice
Plaintiff Description Muslim Advocates is a civil rights organization that has a particular focus on issues impacting Muslim communities and immigrants. The organization seeks to educate the public as well as prevent discrimination and the spread of inaccurate information regarding Muslims.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations Muslim Advocates
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Defendant
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief None
Source of Relief None
Filing Year 2018
Case Closing Year 2019
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
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  See this case at CourtListener.com (May provide additional documents and, for active cases, real-time alerts)
  Presidential Executive Order on Resuming the United States Refugee Admissions Program with Enhanced Vetting Capabilities
White House
Date: Oct. 24, 2017
By: United States
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  Presidential Proclamation Enhancing Vetting Capabilities and Processes for Detecting Attempted Entry Into the United States by Terrorists or Other Public-Safety Threats
www.whitehouse.gov
Date: Sep. 24, 2017
By: President Donald Trump (Office of the President)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  Implementing Executive Order 13780 Following Supreme Court Ruling -- Guidance to Visa-Adjudicating Posts
Reuters
Date: Jun. 28, 2017
By: U.S. Department of State
[ Detail ] [ PDF ] [ External Link ]

  Presidential Memorandum for the Secretary of State, the Attorney General, the Secretary of Homeland Security, and the Director of National Intelligence
The White House
Date: Jun. 14, 2017
By: Donald Trump (White House)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  Executive Order Protecting The Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into The United States
Date: Mar. 6, 2017
By: President Donald Trump (President of the United States)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  Memorandum to the Acting Secretary of State, the Acting Attorney General, and the Secretary of Homeland Security
The White House
Date: Feb. 1, 2017
By: Donald F. McGahn II, Counsel to the President (The White House)
[ Detail ] [ PDF ] [ External Link ]

  Statement by Acting Attorney General Sally Yates
https://www.nytimes.com/
Date: 1/30/2017
By: Acting Attorney General Sally Yates (Department of Justice)
[ Detail ] [ PDF ] [ External Link ]

  Statement By Secretary John Kelly on the Entry of Lawful Permanent Residents into the United States
https://www.dhs.gov/
Date: 1/29/2017
By: DHS Secretary John Kelly (Department of Homeland Security)
Citation: https://www.dhs.gov/news/2017/01/29/statement-secretary-john-kelly-entry-lawful-permanent-residents-united-states
[ Detail ] [ PDF ] [ External Link ]

  OLC Memo Re: Proposed Executive Order Entitled "Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States"
Date: Jan. 27, 2017
By: Curtis Gannon (U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Legal Counsel)
[ Detail ] [ PDF ] [ External Link ]

  Executive Order: Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States
Federal Register
Date: Jan. 27, 2017
By: President Donald Trump (Office of the President)
[ Detail ] [ PDF ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
3:18-cv-2137 (N.D. Cal.)
IM-CA-0118-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/23/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint for Injunctive and Declaratory Relief [ECF# 1]
IM-CA-0118-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/09/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Stipulation to Stay Case Pending Plaintiff's Administrative Appeals and Order [ECF# 24] (C.D. Cal.)
IM-CA-0118-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/23/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
First Amended Complaint for Injunctive and Declaratory Relief [ECF# 37]
IM-CA-0118-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/01/2019
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Corley, Jacqueline Scott (N.D. Cal.) [Magistrate] show/hide docs
IM-CA-0118-0002 | IM-CA-0118-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Callahan, Matthew W. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-CA-0118-0001 | IM-CA-0118-9000
Shebaya, Sirine (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-CA-0118-0001 | IM-CA-0118-0004 | IM-CA-0118-9000
Smith, Johnathan James (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-CA-0118-0001 | IM-CA-0118-9000
Thurston, Robin Frances (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-CA-0118-0001 | IM-CA-0118-0002 | IM-CA-0118-0004 | IM-CA-0118-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Lo, Michelle (California) show/hide docs
IM-CA-0118-0002 | IM-CA-0118-9000
Tse, Alex G. (California) show/hide docs
IM-CA-0118-0002

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