University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name U.T. v. Barr IM-DC-0068
Docket / Court 1:20-cv-00116-EGS ( D.D.C. )
State/Territory District of Columbia
Case Type(s) Immigration and/or the Border
Special Collection Civil Rights Challenges to Trump Immigration Enforcement Orders
Attorney Organization ACLU Chapters (any)
ACLU National (all projects)
Human Rights First
Case Summary
On January 15, 2020, six individual plaintiffs, along with the Tahirih Justice Center and Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center, filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, challenging the Trump Administration’s new policy of removing asylum seekers to Guatemala ... read more >
On January 15, 2020, six individual plaintiffs, along with the Tahirih Justice Center and Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center, filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, challenging the Trump Administration’s new policy of removing asylum seekers to Guatemala pursuant to an “asylum cooperative agreement” (ACA). The individual plaintiffs are noncitizens who came to the U.S. seeking asylum and were subsequently removed to Guatemala pursuant to the new policy. Represented by the National Immigrant Justice Center, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Human Rights First, the plaintiffs sued the Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), the Foreign Affairs Reform and Restructuring Act of 1998 (FARRA), and the U.S. Constitution. The plaintiffs alleged that the government’s new policy violated the APA, INA, FARRA, and the Suspension Clause. The plaintiffs sought declaratory and injunctive relief, including an order paroling the individual plaintiffs into the U.S. and vacating their removal orders, as well as attorneys fees and costs. The case was assigned to Judge Emmet G. Sullivan.

The U.S. signed ACAs with Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador in the summer of 2019, and on November 19, 2019, the government issued an Interim Final Rule establishing procedures for the removal of asylum seekers from the U.S. to those three countries. On November 20, the government issued written guidance implementing its ACA with Guatemala and began removing non-Guatemalan asylum seekers there. The plaintiffs challenged the Rule, as well as the agency guidance implementing the Guatemala ACA, arguing that they unlawfully deny individuals the right to apply for asylum in the U.S.

The plaintiffs brought the following claims: 1) the Rule violated the INA’s safe third country provision, 8 U.S.C. § 1158(a)(2)(A), which requires an individualized likelihood-of-persecution determination in every case prior to removal to a third country; it also requires that any receiving nation be equipped to provide asylum seekers access to full and fair asylum procedures. 2) the Rule violated the withholding of removal statute, 8 U.S.C. § 1231(b)(3), and FARRA, which bar the removal of individuals to countries where they would face torture or persecution on account of a protected ground. 3) the Rule violated the expedited removal statute, 8 U.S.C. § 1225(b), by denying access to a credible fear interview, and by depriving asylum seekers of numerous procedural safeguards created by Congress. 4) the Rule violated the APA because it is arbitrary and capricious and it was issued without the use of notice-and-comment procedures. 5) the Rule violated the Suspension Clause of the U.S. Constitution because it subjects individuals to expedited removal to third countries without the constitutionally required level of federal court review of an expedited removal order.

The plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment is due by February 28, 2020. The case is ongoing.

Sam Kulhanek - 02/07/2020


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Defendant-type
Jurisdiction-wide
Immigration/Border
Admission - procedure
Asylum - criteria
Asylum - procedure
Constitutional rights
Plaintiff Type
Non-profit NON-religious organization
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) U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
U.S. Customs and Border Protection
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
U.S. Department of Justice
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement
Plaintiff Description Five noncitizens who came to the U.S. seeking asylum and were removed to Guatemala, the Tahirih Justice Center, and Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations ACLU Chapters (any)
ACLU National (all projects)
Human Rights First
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief None yet
Source of Relief None yet
Filed 01/15/2020
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)
  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)
1:20-cv-00116 (D.D.C.)
IM-DC-0068-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 02/10/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief [ECF# 3]
IM-DC-0068-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/15/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Sullivan, Emmet G. Court not on record show/hide docs
IM-DC-0068-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Bookey, Blaine (California) show/hide docs
IM-DC-0068-0001
Borroto, Gianna (Illinois) show/hide docs
IM-DC-0068-0001 | IM-DC-0068-9000
Daher, Annie (California) show/hide docs
IM-DC-0068-0001
Eiland, Katrina L. (California) show/hide docs
IM-DC-0068-0001 | IM-DC-0068-9000
Fleming, Mark (Illinois) show/hide docs
IM-DC-0068-0001
Gelernt, Lee (New York) show/hide docs
IM-DC-0068-0001 | IM-DC-0068-9000
Harrold, Adrienne (California) show/hide docs
IM-DC-0068-0001
Jadwat, Omar C. (New York) show/hide docs
IM-DC-0068-0001 | IM-DC-0068-9000
Loyo, Ruben (Illinois) show/hide docs
IM-DC-0068-0001
Maitra, Sayoni (California) show/hide docs
IM-DC-0068-0001
Michelman, Scott (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-DC-0068-0001 | IM-DC-0068-9000
Musalo, Karen (California) show/hide docs
IM-DC-0068-0001
Roth, Charles G. (Illinois) show/hide docs
IM-DC-0068-0001 | IM-DC-0068-9000
Russell, Morgan (California) show/hide docs
IM-DC-0068-0001 | IM-DC-0068-9000
Spitzer, Arthur (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-DC-0068-0001 | IM-DC-0068-9000
Stottlemyer, Patricia (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-DC-0068-0001 | IM-DC-0068-9000
Veroff, Julie Michelle (California) show/hide docs
IM-DC-0068-0001
Vieux, Hardy (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-DC-0068-0001 | IM-DC-0068-9000
Zwick, Keren Hart (Illinois) show/hide docs
IM-DC-0068-0001 | IM-DC-0068-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Reuveni, Erez (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-DC-0068-9000
Ward, Brian Christopher (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-DC-0068-9000

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