University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Pineda v. Trump IM-DC-0058
Docket / Court 1:18-cv-02534 ( D.D.C. )
State/Territory District of Columbia
Case Type(s) Immigration and/or the Border
Special Collection Civil Rights Challenges to Trump Immigration Enforcement Orders
Case Summary
On November 1, 2018, a group of citizens from Honduras who had been traveling with their children to the United States to seek asylum filed this putative class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, on behalf of themselves and their children. The case was assigned ... read more >
On November 1, 2018, a group of citizens from Honduras who had been traveling with their children to the United States to seek asylum filed this putative class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, on behalf of themselves and their children. The case was assigned to Judge Christopher R. Cooper. The plaintiffs, represented by Nexus Derechos Humanos Attorneys and private counsel, sued President Trump and all federal agencies associated with immigration under the Declaratory Judgment Act and the Administrative Procedure Act. The Plaintiffs sought class certification as “All persons (1) who are Mexican, Central American, or South American citizens (2) who are traveling to the United States or have attempted entry into the United States, whether at a designated port of entry or not, since October 31, 2018, and (3) who are seeking asylum or intending to seek asylum within the United States.”

The Plaintiffs sought a declaratory judgement that the Defendants had violated the Plaintiffs’ Fifth Amendment Due Process rights and that the Defendants had violated the Administrative Procedure Act by disregarding federal law, federal directives, and the Flores Settlement Agreement, as well as injunctive relief to prevent enforcement of Trump’s immigration policy. While asserting without evidence that the migrant caravan contained “many criminals” and “many gang members” and labeling the caravan “an invasion of our Country,” President Trump implemented a policy that would permanently detain the thousands of caravaners planning to seek asylum in the United States.

Generally there are three possible designation for an aliens in the United States:
1. “You are an arriving alien” upon entering the United States.
2. “You are an alien present in the United States who has not been admitted or paroled.”
3. “You have been admitted to the United States, but are removable for the reasons stated below.”
Under the second and third designations, asylum seekers may be released on bond. While an immigrant designated as an "arriving alien" may be detained without a bond hearing; each of these designated persons may challenge his or her designation and seek to be re-categorized. The complaint alleged that under Trump’s policy, every immigrant arriving with the caravan would be designated as an "arriving alien," subject mandatory detention, and unable to challenge his or her designation. These immigrants would be detained and housed in tents and tent cities, with no promises by the President that such facilities would comply with laws intended to protect immigrant alien children. All immigrants would be detained indefinitely until they were sent back to Central America.

The Plaintiffs argued that this “no release” policy was being used to deter asylum seekers, and that the use of detention as a deterrent to asylum seekers violated their Due Process rights. Furthermore, the Plaintiffs argued that denying immigrants any opportunity to challenge their inclusion in an immigrant category that prohibits them from seeking bond and release from detention violated their Due Process rights. Lastly, the Plaintiffs claimed that Trump and the federal agencies violated the Administrative Procedures Act by disregarding several laws and an agreement related to immigration, including the following:
1. 8 U.S.C. § 1225, which requires that applicants applying for asylum must be referred for a “credible fear interview,” and will likely be granted asylum if an asylum officer determines that the asylum seeker has a “credible fear of persecution”
2. 8 U.S.C. § 1182, which gives discretion to the Attorney General to provide bond and release asylum seekers temporarily, and ICE Directive No. 11002.1, which requires that “[e]ach alien’s eligibility for parole should be considered and analyzed on its own merits and based on the facts of the individual aliens case.”
3. The Flores Settlement Agreement, which requires that minors must be held in facilities run by licensed programs that are “safe and sanitary and are consistent with [Defendants’] concern for the particular vulnerability of minors” and must “provide access to toilets and sinks, drinking water … adequate temperature control and ventilation, adequate supervision to protect minors from others, and contact with family.”

On January 16, 2019, the parties jointly requested that the Court stay proceedings because the appropriations act that had been funding the Department of Justice expired and the required appropriations lapsed. Absent an appropriation, the Department attorneys, including the Assistant United States Attorney assigned to this case, were prohibited from working on substantive matters. The lapse occurred because of a government shutdown that lasted from December 22, 2018-January 25, 2019. The Court granted the motion on January 17, 2019 and gave the Defendants an extension to file their answer.

On February 7, 2019, the Plaintiffs filed a notice of voluntarily dismissal without prejudice. The case is closed. Although the notice does not give a reason for Plaintiffs' voluntary dismissal, it was likely because on January 25, 2019, the Department of Homeland Security issued a memorandum indicating that it would begin a process of implementing Section 235(b)(2)(C) of the Immigration and Nationality Act. In this process, all non-Mexican nationals who arrive on land seeking to enter the United States from Mexico illegally or without proper documentation would be returned to Mexico for the duration of their Section 240 removal proceedings and could only return to the United States as necessary and appropriate to attend their immigration court proceedings. (see the resource titled "Policy Guidance for Implementation of the Migrant Protection Protocols")

Sara Stearns - 04/01/2019


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Immigration/Border
Asylum - procedure
Constitutional rights
Detention - conditions
Family
Undocumented immigrants - rights and duties
Causes of Action Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. §§ 551 et seq.
Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201
Defendant(s) Donald Trump
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
U.S. Customs and Border Protection
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement
Plaintiff Description Immigrants traveling from Honduras with a migrant caravan planning to seek asylum in the United States.
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Moot
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief None
Source of Relief None
Form of Settlement Voluntary Dismissal
Filing Year 2018
Case Closing Year 2019
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
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  Policy Guidance for Implementation of the Migrant Protection Protocols
Department of Homeland Security
Date: Jan. 25, 2019
By: Kristjen Nielsen (United States Department of Homeland Security)
[ Detail ] [ PDF ] [ External Link ]

  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)
1:18-cv-02534 (D.D.C.)
IM-DC-0058-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 02/07/2019
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint [ECF# 1]
IM-DC-0058-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/01/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Consent Motion to Stay Proceedings and for Nunc Pro Tunc Extensions of Time in Light of Lapse in Appropriations [ECF# 5]
IM-DC-0058-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/16/2019
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiff's Notice of Voluntary Dismissal Without Prejudice [ECF# 6]
IM-DC-0058-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 02/07/2019
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Cooper, Christopher Reid (D.D.C.) show/hide docs
IM-DC-0058-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers LePierre, Dallas S (Georgia) show/hide docs
IM-DC-0058-0001 | IM-DC-0058-0003 | IM-DC-0058-9000
Oinonen, Julie (Georgia) show/hide docs
IM-DC-0058-0001
Shoreman, John M (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-DC-0058-0001 | IM-DC-0058-0003 | IM-DC-0058-9000
Williams, Mario B (Georgia) show/hide docs
IM-DC-0058-0001 | IM-DC-0058-0003 | IM-DC-0058-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Simon, Jeremy S (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-DC-0058-0002 | IM-DC-0058-9000

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