University of Michigan Law School
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Case Name O.A. v. Trump IM-DC-0059
Docket / Court 1:18-cv-02718-RDM ( D.D.C. )
State/Territory District of Columbia
Case Type(s) Immigration and/or the Border
Special Collection Civil Rights Challenges to Trump Refugee/Visa Order
Case Summary
On November 20, 2018, a group of asylum seekers challenged the federal government's latest asylum policy prohibiting people who enter the U.S. along the southern border somewhere other than a designated port of entry from obtaining asylum. Specifically, the plaintiffs challenged an interim final ... read more >
On November 20, 2018, a group of asylum seekers challenged the federal government's latest asylum policy prohibiting people who enter the U.S. along the southern border somewhere other than a designated port of entry from obtaining asylum. Specifically, the plaintiffs challenged an interim final rule promulgated on Nov. 9, 2018 declaring all those subject to a presidential proclamation concerning the southern border ineligible for asylum, as well as the “Presidential Proclamation Addressing Mass Migration Through the Southern Border of the United States” signed the same day blocking the entry of all people entering the U.S. without inspection at the southern border. The plaintiffs claimed violations of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), Administrative Procedure Act (APA), and the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Act. The plaintiffs sought declaratory and injunctive relief. The case was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, and assigned to Magistrate Judge Randolph D. Moss.

The plaintiffs were six noncitizens who entered the U.S. and sought asylum. Two were a father and daughter who fled Honduras to escape a gang threatening to kill them, fearing the local police would not be willing to protect them. Another fled from Mexico, seeking safety from her gang-affiliated partner who repeatedly beat her and threatened to kill her. A fourth plaintiff was an unaccompanied minor from Honduras who sought to escape a credible fear of murder from his father - a police officer who abused him - as well as from a gang the plaintiff refused to join on moral grounds. Another two plaintiffs were a mother and her son from Honduras seeking asylum to escape the violence and threat of death posed by her husband. None had been granted asylum.

The plaintiffs argued that federal law allowed non-citizens to seek asylum regardless of their immigration status or how they entered the U.S. Further, federal law established procedural safeguards required during removal proceedings that aimed to give asylum seekers a fair review process. The plaintiffs also argued that under treaty obligations, the U.S. could not deny asylum on the basis of where the noncitizen entered the U.S. But the government's new rule, part of its broader "zero-tolerance" policy on immigration, "shutters access to the asylum system for thousands of men, women, and children that the Administration concedes are likely to have meritorious asylum claims." Faced with even longer wait times at the border, the complaint argued, asylum seekers already in dangerous situations and with scarce financial resources were thus left seriously vulnerable to violence from criminal organizations near the border.

At the same time the complaint was filed, the plaintiffs filed a motion for a temporary restraining order (TRO), to be followed by a preliminary injunction enjoining implementation and enforcement of the rule and proclamation.

Meanwhile, a series of parties filed amicus briefs in support of the plaintiffs' motion for a temporary restraining order. The following entities filed briefs on behalf of the plaintiffs: the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and seven U.S. Senators.

On December 17, the court held a hearing on the plaintiffs’ motion for a TRO and preliminary injunction and consolidated the case with S.M.S.R. v. Trump, designating this case as the lead case. On December 21, the court decided to hold the motion for a TRO and preliminary injunction in abeyance.

On December 18, the plaintiffs from S.M.S.R. v. Trump filed an amended complaint listing seven additional asylum seekers as lead plaintiffs. At the same time, the plaintiffs in this case also filed an amended complaint seeking certification of a class consisting of all persons who have crossed the southern border since November 10, 2018, and have either gone into hiding to avoid detection, presented outside a port of entry and been detained, or presented and been released pending further immigration proceedings.

On December 26, the defendants filed a motion to stay all briefing deadlines in light of the lapse in appropriations to the Department of Justice. The court, however, denied this motion.

On January 4, 2019, the plaintiffs in both cases filed motions for summary judgment and class certification. The defendants filed a cross motion for summary judgment on February 25. Oral argument on these pending motions is scheduled for May 29, 2019.

The case is ongoing.

Virginia Weeks - 11/28/2018
Eva Richardson - 05/22/2019


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Discrimination-basis
Immigration status
National origin discrimination
Immigration/Border
Admission - criteria
Admission - procedure
Asylum - criteria
Asylum - procedure
Border police
Border wall
Refugees
National Origin/Ethnicity
Hispanic
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. §§ 551 et seq.
Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201
Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), 8 U.S.C. §§ 1101 et seq.
Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA), 18 U.S.C. § 1589
Defendant(s) U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Plaintiff Description Six noncitizens seeking asylum in the U.S.
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Pending
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief None yet
Source of Relief None yet
Filing Year 2018
Case Ongoing Yes
Case Listing IM-DC-0060 : S.M.S.R. v. Trump (D.D.C.)
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)
1:18-cv-2718 (D.D.C.)
IM-DC-0059-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/24/2019
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint [ECF# 1]
IM-DC-0059-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/20/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Amended Class Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief [ECF# 39]
IM-DC-0059-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/18/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Amended Class Action Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief [ECF# 40]
IM-DC-0059-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/18/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Moss, Randolph Daniel (D.D.C.) show/hide docs
IM-DC-0059-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Bakst, Eleni Rebecca (New York) show/hide docs
IM-DC-0059-0001 | IM-DC-0059-0002 | IM-DC-0059-0003
Borroto, Gianna (Illinois) show/hide docs
IM-DC-0059-0001 | IM-DC-0059-0002 | IM-DC-0059-0003
Heins, Matthew D. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-DC-0059-0001 | IM-DC-0059-0002 | IM-DC-0059-0003
Hentoff, Thomas Goodman (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-DC-0059-0001 | IM-DC-0059-0002 | IM-DC-0059-0003 | IM-DC-0059-9000
Hughes, Anwen (New York) show/hide docs
IM-DC-0059-0001 | IM-DC-0059-0002 | IM-DC-0059-0003
Loyo, Ruben (Connecticut) show/hide docs
IM-DC-0059-0001 | IM-DC-0059-0002 | IM-DC-0059-0003
McCloud, Charles L. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-DC-0059-0001 | IM-DC-0059-0002 | IM-DC-0059-0003
Oberwetter, Ellen E. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-DC-0059-0001 | IM-DC-0059-0002 | IM-DC-0059-0003 | IM-DC-0059-9000
Reyes, Ana C. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-DC-0059-0001 | IM-DC-0059-0002 | IM-DC-0059-0003
Roth, Charles G. (Illinois) show/hide docs
IM-DC-0059-0001 | IM-DC-0059-0002 | IM-DC-0059-0003
Vieux, Hardy (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-DC-0059-0001 | IM-DC-0059-0002 | IM-DC-0059-0003
Zwick, Keren Hart (Illinois) show/hide docs
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