University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Emami v. Nielsen IM-CA-0140
Docket / Court 3:18-cv-01587-JD ( 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 Public Counsel
Case Summary
This is one of many legal challenges to the series of Trump's executive orders known as the "Travel Ban" or "Muslim Ban." This suit in particular challenged the waiver system that accompanied the ban, which was instated to supposedly prevent the ban from arbitrarily denying people entry into the ... read more >
This is one of many legal challenges to the series of Trump's executive orders known as the "Travel Ban" or "Muslim Ban." This suit in particular challenged the waiver system that accompanied the ban, which was instated to supposedly prevent the ban from arbitrarily denying people entry into the country.

On March 13, 2018, 26 individuals who had been denied a travel visa, or whose relatives had been denied a travel visa under President Trump's "Travel Ban" Proclamation filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. The case was assigned to District Judge James Donato. The plaintiffs sued the President of the United States, the U.S. Attorney General and the Department of Justice, the Secretary and Department of Homeland Security, the Secretary of State and the State Department, and the Director of National Intelligence along with the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. The plaintiffs brought this case against defendants under the Administrative Procedures Act (APA), alleging the plaintiffs violated the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment and the Immigration and Nationals Act (INA). The plaintiffs, represented by the Immigrant Advocacy and Litigation Center, Public Counsel, and private counsel, sought injunctive and declaratory relief.

The named plaintiff was the U.S. citizen daughter of a widowed elderly Iranian man, who wanted to come and grieve with her because his son and her brother had just died of brain cancer. He never learned that he’d been rejected, as he died three weeks before the denial was issued. All of the plaintiffs had stories of how the travel ban kept family members apart in times of crises.

The plaintiffs alleged that the Trump Administration's failure to grant visas to individuals because of their nationality, was unconstitutional. They specifically alleged that defendants’ actions resulted in the indefinite separation of U.S. citizens and U.S. lawful permanent residents from their family members, and that this result was in contravention of Congress’ purpose in enacting the INA -- promoting family reunification -- and thus amounted to an arbitrary and capricious act in violation of the APA. Plaintiffs also argued that Defendants’ refusal to consider applicants’ eligibility for waivers on a case-by-case basis or develop meaningful guidance was, as a matter of law, arbitrary, capricious, and not in accordance with the law. It therefore violated the APA. The plaintiffs further argued that the blanket denials of visas to applicants from banned countries without the opportunity to argue for a waiver from the Proclamation, together with statements made by defendants concerning their intent and the application of the travel ban, made clear that defendants targeted individuals for discriminatory treatment based on their country of origin or nationality, without any lawful justification, in violation of the Due Process and Equal Protection guarantees of the Fifth Amendment. The plaintiffs asked the court to order the defendants to consider the plaintiffs' eligibility for waivers.

The plaintiffs filed their first amended complaint on July 29, 2018, and their second amended complaint on February 23, 2019. Defendant's have yet to respond to the Plaintiffs complaint. The case is ongoing.

Michael Beech - 03/30/2019


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Equal Protection
Defendant-type
Jurisdiction-wide
Discrimination-basis
National origin discrimination
Immigration/Border
Admission - criteria
Admission - procedure
Constitutional rights
Temporary visitors
National Origin/Ethnicity
Arab/Afgani/Middle Eastern
Plaintiff Type
State Plaintiff
U.S. Dept of Justice 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.
Mandamus, 28 U.S.C. § 1361
Defendant(s) United States Department of State
Office of the Director of National Intelligence
President of the United States
United States Department of Homeland Security
Plaintiff Description 26 individuals who have been denied a travel visa, or have had relatives denied a travel visa under Donald Trump's "Travel Ban" Proclamation.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations Public Counsel
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Pending
Filed Pro Se No
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief None yet
Source of Relief None yet
Filing Year 2018
Case Ongoing Yes
Additional Resources
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  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-01587-JD (N.D. Cal.)
IM-CA-0140-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/15/2019
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint [ECF# 1]
IM-CA-0140-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/13/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Second Amended Class Action Complaint [ECF# 75]
IM-CA-0140-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 02/23/2019
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Donato, James (N.D. Cal.) show/hide docs
IM-CA-0140-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Azmi, Nimra H. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-CA-0140-0002 | IM-CA-0140-9000
Lofti, Shabnam (Wisconsin) show/hide docs
IM-CA-0140-0001 | IM-CA-0140-0002 | IM-CA-0140-9000
Romero, Luis Cortes (California) show/hide docs
IM-CA-0140-0001 | IM-CA-0140-9000
Rosenbaum, Mark Dale (California) show/hide docs
IM-CA-0140-0001 | IM-CA-0140-9000
Saei, Joseph E (- United States (national) -) show/hide docs
IM-CA-0140-0002 | IM-CA-0140-9000
Shebaya, Sirine (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-CA-0140-0002 | IM-CA-0140-9000
Smith, Johnathan James (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-CA-0140-9000
Sustic, Veronica (Wisconsin) show/hide docs
IM-CA-0140-0002 | IM-CA-0140-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Flentje, August E. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-CA-0140-9000
Martinez, P. Angel (- United States (national) -) show/hide docs
IM-CA-0140-9000
Young, Stacey Ilene (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-CA-0140-9000

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