University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name American Immigration Council v. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement IM-DC-0049
Docket / Court 1:18-cv-01531 ( D.D.C. )
State/Territory District of Columbia
Case Type(s) Immigration and/or the Border
Attorney Organization American Immigration Council's Legal Action Center
Case Summary
On June 27, 2018, the American Immigration Council filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. The plaintiff sued the U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement ("ICE"), the U.S. Customs & Border Protection ("CBP"), and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security ("DHS") ... read more >
On June 27, 2018, the American Immigration Council filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. The plaintiff sued the U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement ("ICE"), the U.S. Customs & Border Protection ("CBP"), and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security ("DHS") under 5 U.S.C. § 552, the Freedom of Information Act ("FOIA"). The plaintiff sought injunctive relief and attorneys' fees. The plaintiff sought to compel the disclosure of records regarding the separation of families who arrive at the U.S.-Mexico border. The statutory deadline for a response had expired, and the defendants had failed to make a determination on the requests as required by FOIA. This case was assigned to District Judge Royce C. Lamberth.

The plaintiff claimed there was an urgent need for information regarding the defendants' current policies and practices regarding the treatment of noncitizens (many of them seeking asylum) who arrive as family units at the U.S.-Mexico border and, in many cases, have been prosecuted and separated. The plaintiff claimed that the defendants had been the primary decisionmakers in the implementation of this policy and in the initial separation of families. As such, the plaintiff claimed that records explaining the defendants' policies and practices were of vital importance to the public's understanding of the implementation of family separation.

On August 29, 2018, Judge Lamberth ordered the defendants to produce a Vaughn Index with a supporting motion to dismiss or motion for summary judgement, as appropriate. A Vaughn Index is a document that agencies prepare in FOIA litigation to justify the withholding of information under a FOIA exemption.

On September 21, 2018, the defendants filed an unopposed motion to stay the proceedings. None of the defendants had completed processing the plaintiff's FOIA requests. The defendants forwarded to the plaintiff proposed search terms to be used in completing the FOIA searches. The plaintiff stated that it would respond to the defendants' proposals on or before September 28, 2018. Judge Lamberth granted the motion and stayed the proceedings until October 15, 2018. Judge Lamberth also ordered the parties to file a proposed schedule for further proceedings on or before October 15, 2018.

This case is ongoing.

Victoria Fiengo - 09/30/2018


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Content of Injunction
Required disclosure
Defendant-type
Law-enforcement
Discrimination-basis
Immigration status
General
Family reunification
Inadequate citizen complaint investigations and procedures
Juveniles
Language/ethnic/minority needs
Records Disclosure
Youth / Adult separation
Immigration/Border
Admission - criteria
Admission - procedure
Asylum - criteria
Asylum - procedure
Border police
Deportation - criteria
Deportation - procedure
Detention - criteria
Detention - procedures
Family
Status/Classification
National Origin/Ethnicity
Hispanic
Plaintiff Type
Non-profit NON-religious organization
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. § 552
Defendant(s) U.S. Customs & Border Protection
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement
Plaintiff Description The American Immigration Council seeking the court to compel disclosure under FOIA.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations American Immigration Council's Legal Action Center
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief None yet
Source of Relief None yet
Filing Year 2018
Case Ongoing Yes
Docket(s)
1:18-cv-1531 (D.D.C.)
IM-DC-0049-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/28/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint [ECF# 1]
IM-DC-0049-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/27/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Lamberth, Royce C. (D.D.C., FISC)
IM-DC-0049-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Cohen, Rachel Weiner (District of Columbia)
IM-DC-0049-0001
Creighton, Emily J. (District of Columbia)
IM-DC-0049-0001 | IM-DC-0049-9000
Qian, Ni (District of Columbia)
IM-DC-0049-0001 | IM-DC-0049-9000
Walsh, John F. (Colorado)
IM-DC-0049-0001

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