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Case Name J.O.P. v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security IM-MD-0012
Docket / Court 8:19-cv-01944 ( D. Md. )
State/Territory Maryland
Case Type(s) Immigration and/or the Border
Attorney Organization Public Counsel
Case Summary
On July 1, 2019, four unaccompanied children seeking asylum in the United States filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland. The plaintiffs sued the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) under the ... read more >
On July 1, 2019, four unaccompanied children seeking asylum in the United States filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland. The plaintiffs sued the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA). The plaintiffs, represented by Goodwin Proctor LLP, Kids in Need of Defense, the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, and Public Counsel sought declaratory and injunctive relief. The plaintiffs claimed that a new USCIS policy would retroactively strip them of protections granted under the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA) in violation of the APA and the Fifth Amendment's due process clause. Specifically, they claimed that the new policy would act retroactively on individuals with pending asylum applications because it applied to any USCIS decision made after June 30, 2019. Additionally, the plaintiffs alleged that they could lose asylum eligibility because of the retroactive application of a filing deadline that did not exist when they filed their applications.

On July 1, 2019, the plaintiffs moved for a temporary restraining order to preserve the prior policy until the court considered the new policy's validity. On August 2, the court (Judge George J. Hazel) granted the motion for a temporary restraining order, which it later converted to a preliminary injunction.

On December 20, 2019, the plaintiffs filed an amended complaint, adding U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) as a defendant. The defendants moved to dismiss the amended complaint for failure to state a claim against ICE on January 3, 2020. On June 3, 2020, the court denied defendant's motion to dismiss because it found the all of defendants' arguments within the motion to be "unpersuasive, premature, or unsupported by necessary evidence."

The plaintiffs then filed a motion to certify a class on June 15, 2020. Defining the class broadly, they sought to include all individuals nationwide who were subject to the challenged USCIS policy. The defendants filed their response in opposition to class certification on July 13.

On June 29, 2020, the court issued a scheduling order in which, the defendants were to release the administrative record that led up to the challenged policy's adoption, which they did on July 24. In light of ongoing conversations about deficiencies in the administrative record, the parties jointly filed a motion to stay the summary judgment briefing on August 10.

On December 21, 2020, the court granted the plaintiffs' motion for class certification and the motion to stay the summary judgment schedule. The court certified the following class: "certifies the following class: All individuals nationwide who prior to the effective date of a lawfully promulgated policy (1) were determined to be an Unaccompanied Alien Child; and (2) who filed an asylum application that was pending with the USCIS; and (3) on the date they filed their asylum application with USCIS, were 18 years of age or older, or had a parent or legal guardian in the United States who is available to provide care and physical custody; and (4) for whom USCIS has not adjudicated the individual’s asylum application on the merits."

The plaintiffs had additionally moved to amend the preliminary injunction on July 7, 2020. Regarding that motion, in the same December 21 opinion the court ordered that defendants are: (1) enjoined and restrained from relying on the policies set forth in the 2019 Redetermination Memorandum as a basis to decline jurisdiction over asylum applications of individuals previously determined to be unaccompanied alien children; (2) enjoined and restrained from rejecting jurisdiction over any asylum application filed by plaintiffs and members of the class whose applications would have been accepted under the 2013 policy; (3) enjoined and restrained from deferring to EOIR determinations in assessing jurisdiction over asylum applications filed by plaintiffs and members of the proposed class; and (4) enjoined and restrained during the removal proceedings of any plaintiff or member of the class (including EOIR proceedings before immigration judges and members of the Board of Immigration appeals) from seeking denials of continuances or other postponements in order to await adjudication of an asylum application that has been filed with USCIS, from seeking EOIR exercise of jurisdiction over any asylum claim where USCIS has initial jurisdiction under the terms of the 2013 policy, or from otherwise taking a position in such individual’s removal proceedings that USCIS does not have initial jurisdiction over the individual’s asylum application."

Subsequently, the plaintiffs filed an amended complaint on January 11, 2021; the defendants filed their answer on February 12, 2021.

On February 18, 2021, the defendants appealed the district court's decision to certify the class to the Fourth Circuit (21-1187). As of April 8, 2021, the Fourth Circuit has not yet issued an opinion.

The case is ongoing.

Nora Baty - 10/10/2019
Bogyung Lim - 01/28/2020
Rachel Kreager - 04/07/2021


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Due Process: Procedural Due Process
Content of Injunction
Preliminary relief granted
Defendant-type
Jurisdiction-wide
General
Juveniles
Immigration/Border
Asylum - procedure
Constitutional rights
Family
Refugees
Status/Classification
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
Defendant(s) U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Plaintiff Description Individuals who (1) were determined to be an Unaccompanied Alien Child; and (2) who filed an asylum application that was pending with the USCIS; and (3) on the date they filed their asylum application with USCIS, were 18 years of age or older, or had a parent or legal guardian in the United States who is available to provide care and physical custody; and (4) for whom USCIS has not adjudicated the individual’s asylum application on the merit
Indexed Lawyer Organizations Public Counsel
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status outcome Pending
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Preliminary injunction / Temp. restraining order
Source of Relief None yet
Filed 07/01/2019
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)
Court Docket(s)
D. Md.
02/23/2021
8:19-cv-1944
IM-MD-0012-9000.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
D. Md.
07/01/2019
Complaint [ECF# 1]
IM-MD-0012-0001.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D. Md.
08/02/2019
Memorandum Opinion [ECF# 54] (409 F.Supp.3d 367)
IM-MD-0012-0002.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D. Md.
12/20/2019
First Amended Complaint [ECF# 91]
IM-MD-0012-0003.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D. Md.
12/21/2020
Memorandum Opinion [ECF# 143] (338 F.R.D. 33)
IM-MD-0012-0004.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Hazel, George Jarrod (D. Md.) show/hide docs
IM-MD-0012-0002 | IM-MD-0012-0004 | IM-MD-0012-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Blais, Elaine Herrmann (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
IM-MD-0012-0001 | IM-MD-0012-0003 | IM-MD-0012-9000
Burgess, Brian (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-MD-0012-0001 | IM-MD-0012-0003 | IM-MD-0012-9000
DeJong, Kevin J. (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
IM-MD-0012-0001 | IM-MD-0012-0003 | IM-MD-0012-9000
Frederick, Sarah (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
IM-MD-0012-0001 | IM-MD-0012-0003 | IM-MD-0012-9000
Jackson, Kristen M. (California) show/hide docs
IM-MD-0012-0001 | IM-MD-0012-0003 | IM-MD-0012-9000
Mendez, Michelle N. (Maryland) show/hide docs
IM-MD-0012-0001 | IM-MD-0012-0003 | IM-MD-0012-9000
Ross, Mary Tanagho (California) show/hide docs
IM-MD-0012-0001 | IM-MD-0012-0003 | IM-MD-0012-9000
Scholtz, Rebecca (Minnesota) show/hide docs
IM-MD-0012-0001 | IM-MD-0012-0003 | IM-MD-0012-9000
Shaw, Stephen (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-MD-0012-0001 | IM-MD-0012-0003 | IM-MD-0012-9000
Shuchart, Scott (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-MD-0012-0001 | IM-MD-0012-0003 | IM-MD-0012-9000
Wylegala, Wendy (New York) show/hide docs
IM-MD-0012-0001 | IM-MD-0012-0003 | IM-MD-0012-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Haven, Matthew A. (Maryland) show/hide docs
IM-MD-0012-9000
LeDuc, Vickie (Maryland) show/hide docs
IM-MD-0012-9000
Loucks, Allen (Maryland) show/hide docs
IM-MD-0012-9000

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