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Case Name Casa de Maryland v. Trump IM-MD-0014
Docket / Court 8:19-cv-02715 ( D. Md. )
State/Territory Maryland
Case Type(s) Immigration and/or the Border
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 September 16, 2019, Casa de Maryland, a nonprofit immigrant rights organization serving over 100,000 members, and two of its members filed this suit in the United States District Court For The District Of Maryland. The plaintiffs, represented by Georgetown Law’s Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection (ICAP), sued Donald J. Trump, in his 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 declaration that the Department of Homeland Security’s Final Rule (the Rule) violates the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), the Fifth Amendment’s Due Process Clause, and the equal protection component of the Fifth Amendment and an order setting it aside. The plaintiffs also sought injunctive relief enjoining the defendants from implementing and enforcing the Rule. The case was originally assigned to Magistrate Judge Charles B. Day and then immediately reassigned to Judge Paul W. Grimm.

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 (INA) provides that if an immigration officer finds that a person seeking a visa is likely to become a public charge, that person is “inadmissible.” Thus, an immigrant who uses non-cash benefits such as food stamps or Medicaid, 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 rule was initially set to be implemented on October 15, 2019.

In their complaint, the plaintiffs asserted four claims for relief. First, the plaintiffs claimed that the Rule was not in accordance with the plain meaning of public charge in the INA and that defendants acted beyond their statutory authority. The plaintiffs further contended that the Rule is arbitrary and capricious because it "departs from over a century of prior practice without adequate explanation for this change in policy" and defendants' proffered rationales are "not supported by the evidence in the record, and a pretext to conceal the true motivation for the policy change." The plaintiffs also proclaimed that the Rule violates the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment, arguing that it is so vague that affected persons will "struggle to know how to accord their conduct to avoid adverse immigration consequences." Lastly, the plaintiffs contend that because "defendants’ promulgation of the Public Charge Rule was motivated at least in part by the Trump Administration’s intent to discriminate on the basis of race, ethnicity, and national origin," the Rule violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fifth Amendment. Moreover, the plaintiffs asserted that the Rule will cause them and their members harm by producing a chilling effect that discourages eligible members from utilizing public benefits and requiring Casa de Maryland to allocate significant resources to combat this chilling effect.

On the same day, the plaintiffs filed a motion for preliminary injunction, seeking a nationwide injunction enjoining the defendants from implementing or enforcing the rule or, at the least, delaying its implementation date. The plaintiffs argued that they are likely to win on the merits of their APA and Constitutional claims, that they will suffer irreparable harm in the absence of an injunction, and that the balance of equities and public interest weigh in favor of an injunction. In support of their request for a nationwide injunction, the plaintiffs contended that a nationwide scope is appropriate in order to ensure uniformity in immigration enforcement and to provide plaintiffs with complete redress.

On September 19, 2019, the plaintiffs filed a first amended complaint and a corrected motion for preliminary injunction, making minor formatting and substantive changes to both documents.

In their opposition to the motion for preliminary injunction filed on October 1, 2019, the defendants argued that the "plaintiffs provide no basis for turning their abstract policy disagreement with the Executive Branch into a sweeping overhaul of core immigration law principles." The defendants asserted that the individual plaintiffs and Casa de Maryland did not establish standing and that the "plaintiffs’ claims are even more sweeping and aggressive than those of other litigants challenging the Rule."

Following a hearing on October 10, 2019, Judge Grim issued an opinion and order granting the plaintiffs' motion for preliminary injunction on October 14, 2019. The order enjoined the defendants from enforcing the Rule nationwide and postponed the implementation of the Rule pending the resolution of this case. Judge Grim concluded that a nationwide injunction was appropriate given the plaintiffs' likelihood of success on the merits, the irreparable harm they would face absent a nationwide injunction, and the need to have a uniform immigration law. 414 F.Supp.3d 760.

The defendants filed a motion for stay of injunction pending appeal to the Fourth Circuit on October 25, 2019. Defendants argued that they are likely to succeed on appeal because the plaintiffs lacked standing, did not fall within the zone of interests of the relevant statute, and the Rule is fully consistent with the INA and the APA. Defendants also contended that, because they would be "forced to grant lawful permanent residence (“LPR”) status to aliens likely to become public charges at any time under the Rule," they would suffer irreparable harm in the absence of a stay as their interest in "ensuring that 'aliens be self-reliant'" would be affected.

On October 30, 2019, the defendants filed an appeal of the order for preliminary injunction to the Fourth Circuit. The appeal was docketed on November 4, 2019 (Docket No. 19-2222).

On November 14, 2019, Judge Grimm issued an order denying the defendants' motion for stay pending appeal. Judge Grimm concluded that the defendants did not make a strong showing that they were likely to succeed on their appeal, that they did not establish irreparable injury in the absence of a stay, and that the defendants offered no arguments addressing why a stay would be in the public's best interest. 2019 WL 7565389.

The next day, the defendants filed a motion for stay of the preliminary injunction pending appeal, rehashing the main arguments from their motion to stay in the district court. On December 9, 2019, a Fourth Circuit panel issued an order granting the motion to stay the injunction pending appeal without issuing an opinion explaining their reasoning. Circuit Judges J. Harvie Wilkinson III and Paul Niemeyer voted to grant the motion and Circuit Judge Pamela Harris voted to deny the motion.

On December 20, 2019, the plaintiffs filed a motion for reconsideration of the Fourth Circuit's order granting stay of the preliminary injunction. The plaintiffs argued that it was inappropriate for the panel to grant the motion, and threaten to upend the status quo, with limited briefing and without oral argument. The plaintiffs further contended that should the Fourth Circuit grant the stay, "DHS’s new rule would go into effect in all or most of the country before any appellate court rules on the merits of the preliminary injunctions—causing irreparable harm to Appellees and to noncitizens around the country."

The plaintiffs filed a second amended complaint on January 3, 2020, maintaining the claims and arguments as the first amended complaint and adding the Mayor and City Council of Baltimore as a plaintiff. The plaintiffs asserted that the immigrant communities of Baltimore will be harmed by the chilling effects caused by the Rule.

On January 14, 2020, after the defendants filed a response in opposition, the Fourth Circuit denied the plaintiffs' motion for reconsideration, again without issuing an opinion explaining its rationale.

After the Supreme Court issued orders staying a nationwide injunction in State of New York v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security and an injunction for the State of Illinois in Cook County, Illinois v. Wolf, the defendants stated that the Rule would be enforced beginning February 24, 2020.

On May 27, defendants filed a motion to dismiss plaintiffs' complaint. Defendants asserted that the complaint should be dismissed in full "[i]n light of the Supreme Court’s repeated stays of injunction, the Ninth Circuit’s detailed opinion on the Rule’s legality," and because the Rule does not violate the due process or equal protection clauses.

As of May 30, 2020, the district court's order for preliminary injunction is stayed pending disposition of defendants' appeal. A Fourth Circuit panel heard argument regarding defendants' appeal on May 8. The case is ongoing.

Aaron Gurley - 03/12/2020


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Benefit Source
DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals)
Food stamps
Medicaid
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Equal Protection
Content of Injunction
Preliminary relief granted
Defendant-type
Law-enforcement
Discrimination-basis
Immigration status
Race discrimination
General
Public benefits (includes, e.g., in-state tuition, govt. jobs)
Immigration/Border
Visas - criteria
Visas - procedures
Medical/Mental Health
Medical care, general
National Origin/Ethnicity
Hispanic
Plaintiff Type
City/County Plaintiff
Non-profit NON-religious organization
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. §§ 551 et seq.
Defendant(s) Donald J. Trump
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Plaintiff Description A non-profit organization serving immigrants in Maryland and two of its members. In a second amended complaint, the Mayor and City Council of Baltimore were added as plaintiffs.
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Preliminary injunction / Temp. restraining order
Source of Relief Litigation
Filed 09/16/2019
Case Ongoing Yes
Case Listing IM-MD-0015 : Mayor and City Council of Baltimore v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security (D. Md.)
Additional Resources
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Docket(s)
8:19-cv-2715 (D. Md.)
IM-MD-0014-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/05/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint [ECF# 1]
IM-MD-0014-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 09/16/2019
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum Opinion and Order [ECF# 65] (414 F.Supp.3d 760) (D. Md.)
IM-MD-0014-0004.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 10/14/2019
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Letter Order [ECF# 79] (2019 WL 7565389) (D. Md.)
IM-MD-0014-0003.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 11/14/2019
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Second Amended Complaint [ECF# 93]
IM-MD-0014-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/03/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Grimm, Paul William (D. Md.) show/hide docs
IM-MD-0014-0003 | IM-MD-0014-0004 | IM-MD-0014-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Backer, Jonathan L. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-MD-0014-0001 | IM-MD-0014-0002 | IM-MD-0014-9000
Davis, Andre Maurice (Maryland) show/hide docs
IM-MD-0014-0002 | IM-MD-0014-9000
Geltzer, Joshua A. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-MD-0014-0001 | IM-MD-0014-0002 | IM-MD-0014-9000
Lewis, Jane Hannah (Maryland) show/hide docs
IM-MD-0014-0002 | IM-MD-0014-9000
Marshak, Amy (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-MD-0014-0001 | IM-MD-0014-0002 | IM-MD-0014-9000
McCord, Mary B. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-MD-0014-0001 | IM-MD-0014-0002 | IM-MD-0014-9000
Sangree, Suzanne (Maryland) show/hide docs
IM-MD-0014-0002 | IM-MD-0014-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Kolsky, Joshua (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-MD-0014-9000
Lynch, Jason C. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-MD-0014-9000
Other Lawyers Escoriaza, Phillip A. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-MD-0014-9000
Frisina, Christopher J (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-MD-0014-9000
Lawrence, Paul J. (Washington) show/hide docs
IM-MD-0014-9000
Olowski, Lew (Maryland) show/hide docs
IM-MD-0014-9000
Peterson, Alanna E. (Washington) show/hide docs
IM-MD-0014-9000
Sweeney, Maureen A. (Maryland) show/hide docs
IM-MD-0014-9000
Waters, Edward T. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-MD-0014-9000
Zycherman, Lisa Beth (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-MD-0014-9000

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