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Case Name Migrant Justice v. Nielsen IM-VT-0002
Docket / Court 5:18-cv-00192 ( D. Vt. )
State/Territory Vermont
Case Type(s) Immigration and/or the Border
Attorney Organization ACLU Chapters (any)
Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR)
National Immigration Law Center
Case Summary
On November 14, 2018, Migrant Justice, Inc. and four individual members of the organization filed this lawsuit in the United States District Court for the District of Vermont. The plaintiffs sued the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), ... read more >
On November 14, 2018, Migrant Justice, Inc. and four individual members of the organization filed this lawsuit in the United States District Court for the District of Vermont. The plaintiffs sued the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the Vermont Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), and the United States under 42 U.S.C. §1983 and Ex parte Young, 209 U.S. 123 (1908). The plaintiffs, represented by the various public interest organizations including the ACLU of Vermont, Center for Constitutional Rights, the National Immigration Law Center, as well as private counsel, sought injunctive, monetary, and declaratory relief, claiming violations of the First Amendment and Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause, as well as federal tort claims, including Invasion of Privacy, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, and False Imprisonment.

The plaintiffs, organizers and advocates for immigrant farmworkers, alleged that ICE has retaliated against them in response to their advocacy and public criticism, thereby chilling their speech and interfering with their freedom of association. As a result, Migrant Justice claimed that it had to take extensive and costly precautions, limiting its overall reach to the community. Specifically, the plaintiffs alleged that ICE has infiltrated their meetings; targeted, surveilled, and engaged in disinformation campaigns to sow distrust among their members; and arrested and/or detained twenty active Migrant Justice members pursuant to an unlawful retaliatory policy. The plaintiffs further alleged that DMV employees consistently share personally identifying information about plaintiffs with ICE in a manner that disproportionately targets and impacts non-white and Latinx residents.

The plaintiffs filed an amended complaint on February 7, 2019, removing one member of the organization as a plaintiff. There were no other substantive changes made to the complaint.

On January 21, 2020, the plaintiffs filed a stipulation of dismissal with prejudice as to Wanda Minoli, the Commissioner of the Vermont DMV after entering into a settlement. The DMV agreed to not share immigration or citizenship information with ICE, DHS, and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and to implement new protocols to protect against such disclosures, including training for its law enforcement employees, counter staff, and managers. The settlement also included improvements to the DMV's language access services. The DMV agreed to 18 months of auditing and $100,000 in attorneys' fees: $20,000 would go to the plaintiffs and $80,000 would be set aside for the DMV's costs in complying with the settlement.

On October 28, 2020, the plaintiffs filed a stipulation of dismissal with prejudice after entering into a settlement with the remaining defendants. The U.S. agreed to pay $100,000 in damages. ICE granted the plaintiffs deferred action for five years (stopping their potential deportations), and said it would not use any information gathered during this lawsuit, deferred action requests, or employment authorization applications against the plaintiffs in any future immigration proceedings. ICE also promised to tell its agents that immigrants, regardless of immigration status, are protected by the First Amendment and have the right to freedom of speech and assembly. This included sending a memo to its Vermont employees to explain that they must act in accordance with the First Amendment, including its commitment to not profile, target on account of, or discriminate against any individual or group for exercising First Amendment rights."

The case is ongoing.

Shannon Nelson - 04/22/2019
Olivia Vigiletti - 10/05/2019
Lauren Yu - 11/12/2020


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Equal Protection
Freedom of speech/association
Defendant-type
Jurisdiction-wide
Law-enforcement
Discrimination-basis
Immigration status
Race discrimination
General
Disparate Impact
Drivers Licenses
False arrest
Placement in detention facilities
Racial profiling
Records Disclosure
Immigration/Border
Detention - criteria
Detention - procedures
Undocumented immigrants - rights and duties
Undocumented immigrants - state and local regulation
National Origin/Ethnicity
Hispanic
Plaintiff Type
Non-profit NON-religious organization
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201
Ex parte Young (federal or state officials)
Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA), 28 U.S.C. § 2674
Defendant(s) Department of Homeland Security
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement
United States
Vermont Department of Motor Vehicles
Plaintiff Description Migrant Justice is a non-profit, non-partisan organization that organizes and advocates for Vermont's immigrant farmworkers. Four individual members of Migrant Justice are also named plaintiffs in the suit.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations ACLU Chapters (any)
Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR)
National Immigration Law Center
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Attorneys fees
Damages
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Private Settlement Agreement
Filed 11/14/2018
Case Ongoing Yes
Additional Resources
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  See this case at CourtListener.com (May provide additional documents and, for active cases, real-time alerts)
  Migrant Justice, et al. v. Nielsen, et al.
National Immigration Law Center
Date: 2020
By: National Immigration Law Center
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  Migrant Justice v. Ice
Migrant Justice
Date: 11/13/2018
By: Migrant Justice
Citation: http://www.migrantjustice.net/MJ-v-ICE
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Court Docket(s)
D. Vt. 5:18-cv-192
IM-VT-0002-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/28/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
D. Vt.
Complaint [ECF# 1]
IM-VT-0002-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/14/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D. Vt.
First Amended Complaint [ECF# 22]
IM-VT-0002-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 02/07/2019
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D. Vt.
Settlement Agreement
IM-VT-0002-0003.pdf | External Link | Detail
Date: 01/08/2020
Source: Public.Resource.Org
D. Vt.
Stipulation for Compromise Settlement and Release and Dismissal with Prejudice of all Claims in the Action
IM-VT-0002-0004.pdf | External Link | Detail
Date: 10/28/2020
Source: Public.Resource.Org
show all people docs
Judges Crawford, Geoffrey William (D. Vt.) show/hide docs
IM-VT-0002-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Aguirre, Guadalupe V (New York) show/hide docs
IM-VT-0002-0003 | IM-VT-0002-0004 | IM-VT-0002-9000
Aycock, Amanda M. (New York) show/hide docs
IM-VT-0002-0003 | IM-VT-0002-0004 | IM-VT-0002-9000
Cohen, Joel M. (New York) show/hide docs
IM-VT-0002-0003 | IM-VT-0002-0004 | IM-VT-0002-9000
Diaz, James M (Vermont) show/hide docs
IM-VT-0002-0004 | IM-VT-0002-9000
Ernst, Lia (Vermont) show/hide docs
IM-VT-0002-0001 | IM-VT-0002-0002 | IM-VT-0002-0003 | IM-VT-0002-0004 | IM-VT-0002-9000
Guisado, Angelo R. (New York) show/hide docs
IM-VT-0002-0003 | IM-VT-0002-0004 | IM-VT-0002-9000
Kim Pak, Sarah (California) show/hide docs
IM-VT-0002-0003 | IM-VT-0002-0004 | IM-VT-0002-9000
Neely, Jaclyn M (New York) show/hide docs
IM-VT-0002-0003 | IM-VT-0002-0004 | IM-VT-0002-9000
Rebert, Trudy S. (New York) show/hide docs
IM-VT-0002-0003 | IM-VT-0002-0004 | IM-VT-0002-9000
Rosenthal, Joshua A (California) show/hide docs
IM-VT-0002-9000
Schwarz, Ghita (New York) show/hide docs
IM-VT-0002-0003 | IM-VT-0002-0004 | IM-VT-0002-9000
Stehlik, Joshua T. (California) show/hide docs
IM-VT-0002-0003 | IM-VT-0002-0004 | IM-VT-0002-9000
Wilner, Claudia (New York) show/hide docs
IM-VT-0002-0003 | IM-VT-0002-0004
Wolson, Max (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-VT-0002-0003 | IM-VT-0002-0004 | IM-VT-0002-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Balaban, Rachel (New York) show/hide docs
IM-VT-0002-0003 | IM-VT-0002-0004 | IM-VT-0002-9000
DuCharme, Seth David (New York) show/hide docs
IM-VT-0002-0003 | IM-VT-0002-0004
Foster, Owen C.J (Vermont) show/hide docs
IM-VT-0002-9000
Gallagher, Kate T (Vermont) show/hide docs
IM-VT-0002-0003 | IM-VT-0002-9000
Weinberg, Alex (New York) show/hide docs
IM-VT-0002-0003 | IM-VT-0002-0004 | IM-VT-0002-9000

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