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Case Name Johns Hopkins University v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security IM-DC-0081
Docket / Court 1:20-cv-01873 ( D.D.C. )
State/Territory District of Columbia
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 Johns Hopkins University 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 Johns Hopkins University 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
In response to the new directive, Johns Hopkins University filed this lawsuit on July 10, 2020, represented by private counsel. The University sued the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Plaintiffs argued that the new directive was in violation of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) in a number of ways. First, the complaint asserted that the new directive was arbitrary and capricious, because it did give a reasoned basis for the new action, it did not consider important elements of the problem, and it failed to consider important reliance interests that people and institutions had established since the original March exemption. Second, the plaintiff asserted that the new directive violated the APA because it did not actually rescind or even amend the previous order, and was therefore in contradiction of established law, violating the APA. Third, the plaintiff claimed that this new directive did not follow the proper procedure, because defendants failed to abide by notice-and-comment rule-making procedures when issuing the order. Plaintiffs also asserted two charges of constitutional violations. For one, the complaint argued that the new order violated Due Process guaranteed by the Fifth Amendment because it constituted deprivation of property without any notice or opportunity to be heard. Additionally, the plaintiff asserted that it violated Due Process because it left no indication as to how the university and its international students could retain their visas. Finally, the complaint asserts that the order violates the First Amendment's guarantee of academic freedom.

Johns Hopkins sought injunctive relief in the form of a temporary restraining order and a permanent injunction prohibiting the defendants from enforcing the July directive. They also sought an order vacating and setting aside the directive, as well as declaratory relief that would call the order illegal. The plaintiff also sought attorney's fees and costs.

On July 13, the plaintiff submitted a motion for a temporary restraining order and a preliminary injunction to enjoin defendants from enforcing the July 6 directive. That same day, the case was assigned to Judge Dabney L. Friedrich. Judge Friedrich instructed defendants to file a response to Johns Hopkins' motion for a temporary restraining order by the next day (July 14).

The case is ongoing as of July 14, 2020.

Jack Hibbard - 07/14/2020


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Freedom of speech/association
Defendant-type
Law-enforcement
General
Access to public accommodations - privately owned
School/University Facilities
School/University policies
Immigration/Border
Admission - criteria
Admission - procedure
Border police
Deportation - procedure
Detention - criteria
Visas - criteria
Visas - procedures
Plaintiff Type
Non-profit NON-religious organization
Type of Facility
Government-run
Non-government non-profit
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. §§ 551 et seq.
Defendant(s) United States Department of Homeland Security
United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement
Plaintiff Description Johns Hopkins University
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-CA-0165 : The Regents of the University of California v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security (N.D. Cal.)
IM-MA-0020 : President and Fellows of Harvard College v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security (D. Mass.)
IM-WA-0045 : State of Washington v. United States Department of Homeland Security (W.D. Wash.)
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.)
Additional Resources
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  See this case at CourtListener.com (May provide additional documents and, for active cases, real-time alerts)
Docket(s)
1:20-cv-01509-CJN (D.D.C.)
IM-DC-0081-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/14/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint for Declaratory Relief and Temporary and Permanent Injunctive Relief [ECF# 1]
IM-DC-0081-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/10/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Motion for a Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction [ECF# 9, 9-1, 9-2, 9-7]
IM-DC-0081-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/13/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Declaration of Ellen Mackenzie [ECF# 10]
IM-DC-0081-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/13/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Declaration of Sunil Kumar [ECF# 11]
IM-DC-0081-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/13/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Declaration of Stephen Gange [ECF# 12]
IM-DC-0081-0005.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/13/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Friedrich, Dabney Langhorne (D.D.C.) show/hide docs
IM-DC-0081-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Burck, William A (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-DC-0081-0001 | IM-DC-0081-0002 | IM-DC-0081-9000
Lev, Marina (California) show/hide docs
IM-DC-0081-0001 | IM-DC-0081-0002
Morgan, Shon (California) show/hide docs
IM-DC-0081-0001 | IM-DC-0081-0002
Nix-Hines, Crystal (California) show/hide docs
IM-DC-0081-0001 | IM-DC-0081-0002
Shaffer, Derek L. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-DC-0081-0001 | IM-DC-0081-0002 | IM-DC-0081-9000
Sullivan, Kathleen M (California) show/hide docs
IM-DC-0081-0001 | IM-DC-0081-0002
Defendant's Lawyers Simon, Jeremy S (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-DC-0081-9000
Other Lawyers Harrison, Lindsay C (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-DC-0081-9000

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