University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name State of Washington v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security IM-WA-0043
Docket / Court 4:19-cv-05210-RMP ( E.D. Wash. )
State/Territory Washington
Case Type(s) Immigration and/or the Border
Special Collection Civil Rights Challenges to Trump Immigration Enforcement Orders
Case Summary
On August 14, 2019, 14 states, led by Washington, California, and New York, filed this suit in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Washington. The Plaintiff States sued the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and its acting secretary, in his official capacity, and United ... read more >
On August 14, 2019, 14 states, led by Washington, California, and New York, filed this suit in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Washington. The Plaintiff States sued the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and its acting secretary, in his official capacity, and United States Citizenship and Immigration Services and its acting secretary, in his official capacity, under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA). The Plaintiff States sought relief to declare the Department of Homeland Security’s Final Rule (the Public Charge Rule or the Rule) vacated due to violations of the APA and unconstitutional due to violations of the Equal Protection Clause. The Plaintiff States also sought to preliminarily and permanently enjoin the Rule from being enforced. The case was assigned to District Judge Rosanna Malouf Peterson.

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 final 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 Plaintiff States alleged that the Rule redefined the term “public charge” in a manner contrary to congressional intent and agency interpretation. Since colonial times the term public charge was used to refer to someone permanently and primarily dependent on the government for subsistence. The Plaintiff States' complaint asserted that “the Rule departs from this original meaning by redefining a public charge as a noncitizen who receives common forms of federal and state public assistance, even in small amounts and for a short period of time.” The complaint further states that even though, on average, over 20% of the U.S. population participates in these programs each month, under the Rule, participation in these programs by legally present immigrants could block their path to citizenship. The Plaintiff States alleged that the Rule will deter lawfully present, legally eligible immigrants from participating in these programs, resulting in social and economic costs for the plaintiff states.

On September 9, 2019, the Plaintiff States filed a Motion for Stay Pending Judicial Review or Preliminary Injunction and claimed that they were likely to succeed on the merits of their claims made in the complaint. The Rule, unless prohibited, was set to go into effect on October 15, 2019. The Plaintiff States asserted that the Rule should not take effect while the legal action was still pending.

On September 20, 2019, the Defendants filed an opposition to the Plaintiff States’ motion, challenging the Plaintiff States’ standing to bring this action. The Defendants also contended the Rule was long overdue after Congress passed the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act in 1996 to “expand the public charge ground of inadmissibility.” The Defendants further asserted that the Rule simply defined the term “public charge” to reflect Congress’ legislated policy and its delegation of broad authority to the Executive Branch to set the definition. Lastly, they argued the Rule was a product of a “well-reasoned process” and was of limited scope.

On October 11, 2019, District Judge Rosanna Malouf Peterson granted the Plaintiff States’ Motion for Stay Pending Judicial Review and Preliminary Injunction, finding that the Plaintiff States “have shown that the status quo should be preserved pending resolution of this litigation.” Judge Peterson held that the Plaintiff States demonstrated a strong likelihood of success on the merits of their first cause of action under the APA because evidence showed that Congress already rejected key components of the Rule and that the DHS overstepped its authority. Judge Peterson also held that the Plaintiff States demonstrated a strong likelihood of success on the merits of their claim that the DHS “acted in an arbitrary and capricious manner in formulating the Public Charge Rule.” Furthermore, Judge Peterson held that there was a significant threat of irreparable injury to the Plaintiff States and their residents if the Rule was to take effect as scheduled. Lastly, Judge Peterson found that “the balance of equities tips sharply in favor of the Plaintiff States” and that the threat of harm to the Defendants was not enough to outweigh these other factors. Thus, the implementation of the Public Charge Rule was stayed in its entirety, pending entry of a final judgment in the suit, and Defendants were enjoined from implementing or enforcing the Rule.

On October 30, 2019, the Defendants appealed the Order Granting Stay and Preliminary Injunction. The appeal is pending in the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

Aaron Gurley - 11/17/2019


compress summary

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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
General
Public benefits (includes, e.g., in-state tuition, govt. jobs)
Immigration/Border
Admission - criteria
Admission - procedure
U.S. citizenship - acquiring
Visas - criteria
Visas - procedures
Plaintiff Type
State Plaintiff
Causes of Action Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. §§ 551 et seq.
Defendant(s) Acting Director, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services
Acting Secretary, United States Department of Homeland Security
United States Citizenship and Immigration Services
United States Department of Homeland Security
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer No
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)
4:19-cv-5210 (E.D. Wash.)
IM-WA-0043-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/15/2019
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint [ECF# 1]
IM-WA-0043-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/14/2019
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
First Amended Complaint [ECF# 31]
IM-WA-0043-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 09/05/2019
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Granting Plaintiff States' Motion for Section 705 Stay and Preliminary Injunction [ECF# 162] (2019 WL 5100717) (W.D. Wash.)
IM-WA-0043-0003.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 10/11/2019
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Peterson, Rosanna Malouf (E.D. Wash.) show/hide docs
IM-WA-0043-0003 | IM-WA-0043-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Bays, Nathan (Washington) show/hide docs
IM-WA-0043-0001 | IM-WA-0043-0002 | IM-WA-0043-9000
Brooks, Angela R. (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
IM-WA-0043-0001 | IM-WA-0043-0002 | IM-WA-0043-9000
Cosgriff, John A. (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
IM-WA-0043-9000
Crisalli, Michael Paul (Washington) show/hide docs
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Detrick, Ralph J. (Minnesota) show/hide docs
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Dunlap, Jeffery Paul (Maryland) show/hide docs
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Hammoud, Fadwa Alawieh (Michigan) show/hide docs
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Hardy, Ryan Spreague (Virginia) show/hide docs
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Harris, Toni L. (Michigan) show/hide docs
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Hill, Lauren E. (Rhode Island) show/hide docs
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Horton, Monica A. (Delaware) show/hide docs
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Jones, Zachary P. (Washington) show/hide docs
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Kallen, Michelle S. (Virginia) show/hide docs
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Lloyd, Alice Anne (Virginia) show/hide docs
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Maestas, Tania (New Mexico) show/hide docs
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Moramarco, Glenn J (New Jersey) show/hide docs
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Olson, Eric (Colorado) show/hide docs
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Ovens, Bryan (Washington) show/hide docs
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Roberson-Young, Elizabeth (Illinois) show/hide docs
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Samuels, Jessica Merry (Virginia) show/hide docs
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Saunders, Jonelle (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
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Siddiqui, Mamoona Hafeez (Virginia) show/hide docs
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Sprung, Jeffrey Todd (Washington) show/hide docs
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Stern, Heidi Parry (Nevada) show/hide docs
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Taylor, Abigail B. (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
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Tomisser, Rene David (Washington) show/hide docs
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Urena, David (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
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Weissman, Joshua (Washington) show/hide docs
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Young, Lili A. (Hawaii) show/hide docs
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Defendant's Lawyers Berman, Keri L. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
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Kolsky, Joshua (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
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Other Lawyers Adams, Matthew (Washington) show/hide docs
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Aguilar, Diana A. (California) show/hide docs
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Bailey, Regan (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
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Chan, Denny W. (California) show/hide docs
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Chiang, Emily (Washington) show/hide docs
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Cohen, Andrew Paul (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
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Curet, Tess L. (California) show/hide docs
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DeFilipp, Kristyn (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
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Digiacinto, Darren Michael (Washington) show/hide docs
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Duffy, Barbara J. (Washington) show/hide docs
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Durbin, Christopher B. (Washington) show/hide docs
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Espinoza-Madrigal, Ivan (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
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Gardner, David P. (Washington) 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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Isserlis, Nancy L. (Washington) 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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Lawrence, Paul J. (Washington) show/hide docs
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London, Andrew M. (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
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Lovejoy, Brittany N. (California) 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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McDermott, Kathleen (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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Peterson, Alanna E. (Washington) show/hide docs
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Plutshack, Alexandra B. (California) show/hide docs
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Power, Vanessa Soriano (Washington) show/hide docs
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Ray, Sarah M. (California) show/hide docs
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Ross, Douglas C. (Washington) show/hide docs
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Sampson, Lauren (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
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Sellstrom, Oren M. (California) show/hide docs
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Sprague, Charles Ferer (California) show/hide docs
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Springer, Christian (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
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Stameshkin, Elizabeth L. (California) show/hide docs
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Virgien, Kyle A. (California) show/hide docs
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