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Case Name La Clinica de la Raza v. Trump IM-CA-0149
Docket / Court 4:19-cv-04980-PJH ( N.D. Cal. )
State/Territory California
Case Type(s) Immigration and/or the Border
Special Collection Civil Rights Challenges to Trump Immigration Enforcement Orders
Attorney Organization National Immigration Law Center
Case Summary
This case is one of several brought nationwide by States, counties, and nonprofit organizations challenging the Trump administration's revised, final public charge rule, which expands the types of programs that the federal government will consider in public charge determinations to now also include ... read more >
This case is one of several brought nationwide by States, counties, and nonprofit organizations challenging the Trump administration's revised, final public charge rule, which expands the types of programs that the federal government will consider in public charge determinations to now also include previously excluded health, nutrition, and housing programs. District court judges from across the countries granted preliminary injunctions enjoining the government from implementing the public charge rule but after multiple Circuit Courts and the Supreme Court issued stays of these injunctions, the public charge rule was implemented by the government on February 24, 2020.

On August 16, 2019, several healthcare providers and nonprofit organizations serving immigrant communities filed this suit in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California. The plaintiffs sued Donald J. Trump, in his official capacity as President of the United States, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and its acting secretary in his official capacity, and United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and its acting secretary in his official capacity, under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA). The plaintiffs sought relief to declare the Department of Homeland Security’s Final Rule (the Rule) vacated due to violations of the APA and unconstitutional for violations of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fifth Amendment. The plaintiffs also sought to preliminarily and permanently enjoin the Rule from being implemented and enforced. The case was initially assigned to Magistrate Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley but was reassigned to District Judge Haywood S Gilliam, Jr after the plaintiffs declined to proceed before a magistrate judge.

On August 14, 2019, the DHS published a revised, final public charge rule, which defines personal circumstances that affect the ability of individuals and their families to successfully enter the U.S. or acquire legal permanent resident status (i.e., get a green card). The Rule increases the types of programs that the federal government will consider in public charge determinations to now also include previously excluded health, nutrition, and housing programs. The Immigration and Nationality Act provides that if an immigration officer finds that a person seeking a visa is likely to become a public charge, that person is “inadmissible.” The traditional conception of public charge has meant "someone who is primarily dependent on the government to avoid destitution." Under the Rule, an immigrant who uses non-cash benefits such as food stamps or Medicaid (the plaintiffs have alleged that over one-half of U.S. citizens can be expected to use one of these programs at some point in their lifetime), or is deemed likely to receive them in the future, may be found more likely to be a public charge and inadmissible for purposes of a visa or green card application. According to a New York Times article, the new standards would directly affect about 1.2 million applicants annually, primarily immigrants from Africa and Latin America.

The plaintiffs asserted four claims for relief against the defendants. First, the plaintiffs asserted that the Rule's definition of public charge is "contrary to the plain and well- established meaning of that phrase, and to how it has been interpreted and applied since 1882." In support of this claim, the plaintiffs stated that Congress has repeatedly declined to change the longstanding definition of public charge. The plaintiffs also claimed that the Rule is arbitrary and capricious, as it departs from prior law and practice without adequate explanation of the reasons for the departure and consideration for the consequences of the change. Next, the plaintiffs asserted that in enacting the Rule, "defendants acted with improper discriminatory intent and bias against non-white immigrants," in violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fifth Amendment. Lastly, the plaintiffs argued that the Rule is invalid because it was issued by the acting head of the USCIS and that his designation as acting head of USCIS violated the Constitution and federal law.

The plaintiffs sought to enjoin the implementation and enforcement of the Rule to prevent harm to themselves and the immigrant families they represent; "The Rule has and will continue to divert Plaintiffs’ resources, both to address the harmful effects of the Rule and to educate immigrant families about those effects, preventing Plaintiffs from carrying out other aspects of their missions and ensuring that their patients, members, and clients do not forgo critical services to lead healthy, productive, and successful lives."

The case was ordered related to City and County of San Francisco v. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (IM-CA-0156) on August 30, 2019. Accordingly, the case was reassigned to the judge presiding over that related case, Judge Phyllis J. Hamilton.

On September 4, 2019, the plaintiffs filed a motion for preliminary injunction, seeking a nationwide injunction enjoining the defendants from implementing and enforcing the Rule and an order postponing the effective date of the Rule pending judicial review. The plaintiffs argued that a preliminary injunction was appropriate because of their likely success on the merits and that absent an injunction, the Rule will cause plaintiffs to suffer irreparable harm "by interfering with their missions, forcing them to divert resources from providing their core services to handling the effect of the Regulation, and depriving them of revenue." In their opposition to the motion for preliminary injunction, the defendants argued that the plaintiffs have "no basis for turning their abstract policy disagreement with the Executive Branch into a nationwide injunction." The defendants asserted that because the plaintiffs are "municipalities rather than aliens governed by the Rule," they cannot meet jurisdictional requirements. Furthermore, the defendants contended that the Rule is not unlawful, as it "reflects Congress’s delegation of broad authority to the Executive Branch concerning the meaning of 'public charge'" and was "the product of a well-reasoned process that considered the plain text of the statute, legislative intent, statistical evidence, and the substance of hundreds of thousands of comments submitted by the public."

Following a hearing on October 2, 2019, on October 11, 2019, Judge Hamilton issued an order denying the plaintiffs' motion for preliminary injunction, but granted preliminary injunctions in two related cases that would enjoin the defendants from implementing and enforcing the Rule in California, Oregon, the District of Columbia, Maine, and Pennsylvania. 408 F. Supp. 3d 1057.

Judge Hamilton denied the plaintiffs' motion for preliminary injunction in the current case, finding that the plaintiffs "have not met their burden to demonstrate that there are serious questions concerning whether they are within the challenged statute’s zone of interest, and certainly they have failed to demonstrate a likelihood that they are able to bring the APA actions underlying their present motion."

Judge Hamilton concluded that a preliminary injunction was appropriate in the two related cases because the plaintiff states and counties were likely to succeed on the merits of their APA claims and would be irreparably harmed absent an injunction. However, Judge Hamilton did not grant the plaintiffs' request to enjoin the implementation of the Rule nationwide. Because the plaintiff states and counties did not establish "the necessity of such relief," the scope of the injunction was limited to California, Oregon, the District of Columbia, Maine, and Pennsylvania.

In City and County of San Francisco, a Ninth Circuit panel issued an order on December 5, 2019, granting the government's emergency motion to stay the preliminary injunction in California, Oregon, the District of Columbia, Maine, and Pennsylvania. In the same order, the Ninth Circuit panel stayed a nationwide injunction that was issued by the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Washington in State of Washington v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

On December 10, 2019, the plaintiffs appealed the order denying preliminary injunction to the Ninth Circuit. However, the Ninth Circuit granted plaintiffs' unopposed motion to voluntarily dismiss the appeal on February 4, 2020. 2020 WL 1170719.

On January 27, 2020, the Supreme Court, State of New York, issued a stay on all nationwide injunctions enjoining the defendants from implementing the Rule. 140 S.Ct. 599. Following this decision, the defendants indicated that the Rule would be implemented and enforced starting February 24, 2020.

As of March 8, 2020, the parties were beginning the discovery process. The case is ongoing.

Aaron Gurley - 03/06/2020


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Benefit Source
Food stamps
Medicaid
Constitutional Clause
Equal Protection
Content of Injunction
Preliminary relief denied
Preliminary relief granted
General
Public benefits (includes, e.g., in-state tuition, govt. jobs)
Immigration/Border
Visas - criteria
Visas - procedures
Plaintiff Type
Non-profit NON-religious organization
Causes of Action Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. §§ 551 et seq.
Defendant(s) Acting Director
Acting Secretary
Department of Homeland Security
Donald J. Trump
United States Citizenship and Immigration Services
Plaintiff Description Lead plaintiff, La Clinica de La Raza, is a Federally Qualified Health Center which provides health care to more than 86,000 patients annually, many of whom are immigrants and/or public benefit recipients. California Primary Care Association Asian Health Services Maternal and Child Health Access Farmworker Justice Council on American-Islamic Relations - California African Communities Together Legal Aid Society of San Mateo County Central American Resource Center Korean Resource Center
Indexed Lawyer Organizations National Immigration Law Center
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Mixed
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Preliminary injunction / Temp. restraining order
Source of Relief Litigation
Order Duration 2019 - n/a
Filed 2019
Case Ongoing Yes
Case Listing IM-CA-0156 : City and County of San Francisco v. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (N.D. Cal.)
Additional Resources
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  See this case at CourtListener.com (May provide additional documents and, for active cases, real-time alerts)
  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)
4:19-cv-4980 (N.D. Cal.)
IM-CA-0149-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/04/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint [ECF# 1]
IM-CA-0149-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/16/2019
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum Opinion [ECF# 59] (D. Md.)
IM-CA-0149-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 09/25/2019
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Preliminary Injunction [ECF# 131] (N.D. Cal.)
IM-CA-0149-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/11/2019
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
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Judges Hamilton, Phyllis Jean (N.D. Cal.) show/hide docs
IM-CA-0149-0003 | IM-CA-0149-9000
Hollander, Ellen Lipton Court not on record show/hide docs
IM-CA-0149-0002
Plaintiff's Lawyers Broder, Tanya (California) show/hide docs
IM-CA-0149-0001 | IM-CA-0149-9000
Cho, Michelle (California) show/hide docs
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Dozier, Antionette D (California) show/hide docs
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Espiritu, Nicholas David (California) show/hide docs
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Herrera, Kevin L. (Illinois) show/hide docs
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Hoq, Laboni Amena (California) show/hide docs
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Huerta, Alvaro M. (California) show/hide docs
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Ingram, Joanna Elise Cuevas (New York) show/hide docs
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Joachin, Mayra B. (California) show/hide docs
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Joaquin, Linton (California) show/hide docs
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Kane, David Michael (California) show/hide docs
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Newman, Robert D. Jr. (California) show/hide docs
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Perkins, Martha Jane (North Carolina) show/hide docs
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Senachai, Yanin (California) show/hide docs
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Wolson, Max (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
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Defendant's Lawyers Davis, Ethan P. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
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Kolsky, Joshua (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
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Soskin, Eric J. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
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Other Lawyers Assi, Christina Maria (California) show/hide docs
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Bailey, Regan Monica (Maryland) show/hide docs
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Cadena, Christopher (California) show/hide docs
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Cecere, Joseph Carl Jr. (Texas) show/hide docs
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Chan, Denny W. (California) show/hide docs
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Cohen, Andrew Paul (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
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DeFilipp, Kristyn (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
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Dermody, Kelly M. (California) show/hide docs
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Doi, Kathryn Ellen (California) show/hide docs
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Escoriaza, Phillip A. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
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Frisina, Christopher J (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
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Gonzales, Michelle Roberts (California) show/hide docs
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Hirschhorn, Russell L. (New York) show/hide docs
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Huseny, Sadik Harry (California) show/hide docs
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Kean, Natalie Elise (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
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Krumplitsch, Susan Marie (California) show/hide docs
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Kuwahara, Emily Tomoko (California) show/hide docs
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Levin-Gesundheit, Michael (California) show/hide docs
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London, Andrew M. (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
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Lowe, Justin Jonathan (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
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Marotta, Sean (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
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Masters, Owen (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
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Nash, Emily Joanne (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
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Parmet, Wendy Ellen (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
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Potente, Alexander Eugene (California) show/hide docs
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Reider, Nicholas A. (California) show/hide docs
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Risher , Michael Temple (California) show/hide docs
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Springer, Christian (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
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Thacher, Frances Cheston (California) show/hide docs
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Waters, Edward T. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
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