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Case Name State of Washington v. United States Department of Homeland Security IM-WA-0045
Docket / Court 2:20-cv-01070 ( W.D. Wash. )
State/Territory Washington
Case Type(s) Education
Immigration and/or the Border
Special Collection COVID-19 (novel coronavirus)
Case Summary
COVID-19 Summary: This is a lawsuit brought by the state of Washington regarding the July 2020 release of ICE regulations which, in effect, meant that students on F-1 visas would risk deportation if their school shifted to online learning. No outcome yet.


Background ... read more >
COVID-19 Summary: This is a lawsuit brought by the state of Washington regarding the July 2020 release of ICE regulations which, in effect, meant that students on F-1 visas would risk deportation if their school shifted to online learning. No outcome yet.


Background
Generally speaking, F-1 visas (colloquially "student visas") can be granted to international students who attend American universities. However, regulations on the granting of these visas limit the amount of online or distance learning the student can engage in. According to these regulations, an international student can engage in only one such class or three credits of that class per semester. 8 C.F.R. § 214.2(f)(6)(i)(G).

The COVID-19 outbreak in early 2020 made this regulation untenable, as schools and universities had to shift to online learning systems. In response, defendant ICE issued an exemption on March 13, 2020, affirming that international students would be permitted to continue distance learning in the United States under their F-1 visas. The exemption would apply until the end of the emergency. However, on July 6, 2020, ICE issued a new directive stating that it would rescind that exemption. This directive would then mean that international students at schools that would still be fully online would have to either transfer to other schools that were at least partially in-person, go back to their countries voluntarily, or risk deportation. The directive also ordered schools that had gone fully online or had simply decided not to have classes to submit an "operational change plan" within nine days, and ordered schools that would have a hybrid system to certify each F-1 student to make sure that they were not taking entirely online courses.

The Lawsuit
This lawsuit was filed on July 10, 2020, four days after the directive was issued. The state of Washington was the plaintiff. Defendants were the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Washington claimed that the new directive violated the Administrative Procedure Act in six ways: 1) the directive was arbitrary and capricious in that it set up implausible deadlines for institutions to decide whether to be fully online or not; 2) the directive was arbitrary and capricious in that it reversed a prior policy without detailing any change in facts; 3) the directive was arbitrary and capricious in that the defendants entirely failed to consider an important aspect of the problem; 4) the directive was arbitrary and capricious in that defendants did not offer any cogent explanation for the change in policy; and 5) defendants did not engage in notice-and-comment rule-making when coming up with the new policy. Finally, Washington also argued that the directive violated the APA because it was in excess of statutory authority, as it was encroaching on the state's ability to exercise police powers regarding public health. The plaintiff sought injunctive relief in the form of a temporary restraining order as well as preliminary and permanent injunctions prohibiting the agencies from enforcing the new directive. Plaintiffs also requested that the court vacate and set aside the new directive, in addition to attorney's fees and costs.

The case was assigned to Judge Ricardo S. Martinez.

On July 13, the plaintiff requested an emergency temporary restraining order, asking that the court enjoin the defendants from enforcing the directives for at least two weeks.

The case is ongoing as of July 13, 2020.

Jack Hibbard - 07/13/2020


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Defendant-type
Jurisdiction-wide
General
Access to public accommodations - governmental
Access to public accommodations - privately owned
School/University Facilities
School/University policies
Immigration/Border
Admission - criteria
Border police
Deportation - criteria
Deportation - procedure
Visas - criteria
Visas - procedures
Plaintiff Type
State Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Non-government non-profit
Causes of Action Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. §§ 551 et seq.
Defendant(s) United States Department of Homeland Security
Plaintiff Description State of Washington
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief None yet
Source of Relief None yet
Filed 07/10/2020
Case Ongoing Yes
Case Listing IM-CA-0166 : Z.W. v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security (C.D. Cal.)
IM-MA-0020 : President and Fellows of Harvard College v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security (D. Mass.)
IM-CA-0165 : The Regents of the University of California v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security (N.D. Cal.)
IM-DC-0081 : Johns Hopkins University v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security (D.D.C.)
IM-CA-0167 : State of California v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security (N.D. Cal.)
IM-MA-0021 : Commonwealth of Massachusetts et al v. United States Department of Homeland Security (D. Mass.)
IM-OR-0011 : University of Oregon v. United States Department of Homeland Security (D. Or.)
Docket(s)
2:20-cv-01070 (W.D. Wash.)
IM-WA-0045-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/14/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief [ECF# 1]
IM-WA-0045-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/10/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Emergency Motion for Temporary Restraining Order [ECF# 3 & 3-1]
IM-WA-0045-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/13/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
[Declarations Cited in Support of State of Washington's Emergency Motion for Temporary Restraining Order] [ECF# 4-1]
IM-WA-0045-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/13/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Martinez, Ricardo S. (W.D. Wash.) show/hide docs
IM-WA-0045-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Beneski, Kristin (Washington) show/hide docs
IM-WA-0045-0001 | IM-WA-0045-0002 | IM-WA-0045-9000
Coates, Spencer W (Washington) show/hide docs
IM-WA-0045-0001 | IM-WA-0045-0002 | IM-WA-0045-0003 | IM-WA-0045-9000
Ferguson, Robert W. (Washington) show/hide docs
IM-WA-0045-0001 | IM-WA-0045-0002
Fraas, Lauryn K (Washington) show/hide docs
IM-WA-0045-0001 | IM-WA-0045-0002 | IM-WA-0045-9000
Other Lawyers Chang, Robert S. (Washington) show/hide docs
IM-WA-0045-9000

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