University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name P.L v. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement IM-NY-0067
Docket / Court 1:19-cv-01336-ALC ( S.D.N.Y. )
State/Territory New York
Case Type(s) Immigration and/or the Border
Special Collection Civil Rights Challenges to Trump Immigration Enforcement Orders
Attorney Organization Bronx Defenders
Legal Services/Legal Aid
Case Summary
On February 12, 2019, seven immigrants, Brooklyn Defender Services, and Legal Aid filed this class action lawsuit in the Southern District of New York alleging they had a constitutional and statutory right to attend immigration court and removal proceedings in person, instead of by video ... read more >
On February 12, 2019, seven immigrants, Brooklyn Defender Services, and Legal Aid filed this class action lawsuit in the Southern District of New York alleging they had a constitutional and statutory right to attend immigration court and removal proceedings in person, instead of by video teleconference hearings (VTC). The plaintiffs sued defendants U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR), and associated officials. The plaintiffs sought a declaration that their protections guaranteed by the First Amendment, Fifth Amendment, the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), and the Rehabilitation Act had been violated. The plaintiffs claimed that they were denied the right to have an in person hearing in front of Immigration Court. According to the complaint, VTC-only hearing have had disastrous effects on detailed immigrants, the ability of their attorneys to effectively represent them, and the efficiency of the immigration court.

The named plaintiffs in this case are seven immigrants who were detained in jails outside of New York City and required to appear for removal proceedings through VTC. Prior to June 2018, detained immigrants had their removal proceedings in person. On June 27, 2018 ICE’s New York Field Office announced that the majority of future proceedings would be conducted through VTC. Issues such as the plaintiffs feeling discouraged to testify about sensitive personal information vital to their case via VTC while in the presence of ICE agents and delays due to foreign language interpretation services or accommodations added to the difficulty of testifying. In addition, the plaintiffs alleged that the VTC policy has had numerous technological and scheduling challenges, including poor connections, technological failures, over-scheduling, and a limited number VTC lines, resulting in adjourned and delayed hearings and correspondingly increasing immigrants’ time in detention.

Prior to this lawsuit, the New York Immigrant Family Unity Program ("NYIFUP"), New York City's first-in-the-nation appointed counsel program for detained immigrants who cannot afford an attorney, was able to screen and identify clients in on-site intake interviews at the Varick Street Immigration Court on the day of clients' initial appearances. NYIFUP has increased the rate of successful outcomes by 1,100 percent since 2013. This service reduced unnecessary detention and illegal deportation, representing approximately 35 percent of immigrants in proceedings before the Varick Street Immigration Court. Without the in-person hearings, NYIFUP is unable to identify potential clients.

On February 15, 2019, the plaintiffs filed a motion to certify their class, and on February 26, 2019, they filed a motion for preliminary injunction to produce detainees to their removal proceedings in person. On April 15, 2019, the defendants filed a motion to dismiss.

On June 21, 2019, Judge Andrew L. Carter filed an opinion and order denying the plaintiff’s motions for class certification and for preliminary injunction and approving the defendant’s motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. 2019 WL 2568648. Though Judge Carter noted he was “sympathetic to the plaintiffs’ claims,” he dismissed the case because under § 1252(b)(9) of the INA he was jurisdictionally barred from hearing the action. Under § 1252(b)(9) of the INA, judicial review, including interpretation and application of constitutional and statutory provisions, arising from actions to remove a noncitizen was only available in judicial review of a final order of removal. In this case, because the plaintiffs were challenging part of the process by which removability will be determined, the court did not have jurisdiction.


On July 22, 2019, the plaintiffs submitted a motion to alter the judgment. The court ordered on July 23, 2019 a schedule for the defendant's opposition and the plaintiff's reply. The motion has not been ordered. At this time, the Clearinghouse does not have access to the documents regarding the substance of the motion to alter judgement. The motion has not been ordered on as of November 8, 2019.

The case is still in progress as of November 8, 2019.

Emma Himes - 10/24/2019


compress summary

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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Petitions clause
Defendant-type
Law-enforcement
Disability
Mental impairment
Discrimination-basis
Disability (inc. reasonable accommodations)
Immigration status
General
Access to lawyers or judicial system
Immigration/Border
Constitutional rights
Detention - criteria
Detention - procedures
ICE/DHS/INS raid
Immigration lawyers
Undocumented immigrants - rights and duties
Undocumented immigrants - state and local regulation
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. §§ 551 et seq.
Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), 8 U.S.C. §§ 1101 et seq.
Defendant(s) Assistant Chief Immigration Judge
Deputy Director of ICE
Deputy Director of NY ICE
Director of Executive Office for Immigration Review
Director of NY ICE
Executive Director of ICE Enforcement Removal Operations
Executive Office for Immigration Review
Secretary of DHS
U.S. Acting Attorney General
U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS)
U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ)
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)
Plaintiff Description Seven immigrants who were detained in jails outside of New York City and required to appear for removal proceedings through Video Teleconference Hearings.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations Bronx Defenders
Legal Services/Legal Aid
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted No
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Defendant
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief None
Source of Relief None
Filing Year 2019
Case Ongoing Yes
Additional Resources
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  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)
1:19-cv-01336-ALC (S.D.N.Y.)
IM-NY-0067-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 09/10/2019
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Class Action Complaint [ECF# 2]
IM-NY-0067-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 02/12/2019
Opinion and Order [ECF# 102] (2019 WL 2568648) (S.D.N.Y.)
IM-NY-0067-0001.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 06/21/2019
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Carter, Andrew Lamar Jr. (E.D.N.Y., S.D.N.Y.) show/hide docs
IM-NY-0067-0001 | IM-NY-0067-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Boisture, Pooja Ashok (New York) show/hide docs
IM-NY-0067-0002 | IM-NY-0067-9000
Borchetta, Jennifer Rolnick (New York) show/hide docs
IM-NY-0067-0002 | IM-NY-0067-9000
Bouchoux, Christopher Jean (New York) show/hide docs
IM-NY-0067-0002 | IM-NY-0067-9000
Dennhardt, Jeffrey Andrew (New York) show/hide docs
IM-NY-0067-0002 | IM-NY-0067-9000
Dona, Julie Ann (New York) show/hide docs
IM-NY-0067-0002 | IM-NY-0067-9000
Gittes, Susan Reagan (New York) show/hide docs
IM-NY-0067-0002 | IM-NY-0067-9000
Gunther, Robert J. Jr. (New York) show/hide docs
IM-NY-0067-0002 | IM-NY-0067-9000
Kinder, William C. (New York) show/hide docs
IM-NY-0067-0002 | IM-NY-0067-9000
Marquez, Sonia (New York) show/hide docs
IM-NY-0067-0002 | IM-NY-0067-9000
Menschel, Brooke (New York) show/hide docs
IM-NY-0067-0002 | IM-NY-0067-9000
Nitsche, Jessica (New York) show/hide docs
IM-NY-0067-0002 | IM-NY-0067-9000
Rahman, Shakeer (New York) show/hide docs
IM-NY-0067-0002 | IM-NY-0067-9000
Rehnquist, Dana (New York) show/hide docs
IM-NY-0067-0002 | IM-NY-0067-9000
Rosh, Samuel (New York) show/hide docs
IM-NY-0067-9000
Steinberg, Johanna B. (New York) show/hide docs
IM-NY-0067-0002 | IM-NY-0067-9000
Williams, Jennifer Ann (New York) show/hide docs
IM-NY-0067-0002 | IM-NY-0067-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Cha-Kim, Stephen Seungkun (New York) show/hide docs
IM-NY-0067-9000
Kochevar, Steven J. (New York) show/hide docs
IM-NY-0067-9000
Shapiro, Akiva (New York) show/hide docs
IM-NY-0067-9000

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