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Case Name State of California v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security IM-CA-0167
Docket / Court 4:20-cv-04592 ( N.D. Cal. )
Additional Docket(s) 3:20-cv-04621  [ 20-4621 ]  Northern District of CA (U.S.)
State/Territory California
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 California 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. In a different lawsuit filed against the administration ... read more >
COVID-19 Summary: This is a lawsuit brought by the State of California 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. In a different lawsuit filed against the administration over the same July directive, plaintiffs met with counsel for the government and worked to get the regulations rescinded. In order to effectuate the rescission, ICE removed the guidance from its website and replaced it with the previous guidance and as a result, plaintiffs withdrew their motion for a preliminary injunction. California continued to monitor the alterations ICE made to its website between July and September and filed a notice of voluntary dismissal on October 19, 2020.


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
On July 9, three days after the directive was issued, the State of California filed this lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. The complaint alleged two violations of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA). First, it argued that the directive was arbitrary and capricious because: 1) the defendants gave no explanation for the sudden shift in policy; 2) defendants relied on factors Congress did not intend for them to rely on in making the shift; 3) defendants failed to consider the reliance interests of students and universities after they had issued the original exemption; and 4) defendants failed to provide any cogent explanation for the shift in policy. Second, the state alleged that defendants did not go through proper notice-and-comment rulemaking processes when they issued the new directive.

The State of California sought declaratory relief that would call the new directive illegal, an order setting aside the July directive, and injunctive relief that would force defendants to reinforce the original March 13 exemption.

California declined to have a magistrate judge conduct the proceedings. The next day, July 10, the case was assigned to Judge Jon S. Tigar.

On July 13, California submitted a motion requesting a preliminary injunction. The proposed injunction would prohibit the government from acting on the new directive.

Also on July 13, Regents of the University of California filed a motion to relate the case to the case they had filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California three days prior. Judge Tigar found that the cases are related and reassigned the suit by University of California (which was filed after this suit by the state of California) to himself on July 14.

Meanwhile, in a different lawsuit filed against the administration over the same directive, President and Fellows of Harvard College, the parties conferred and the defendants agreed to rescind their implementation of the directive and to return to the March policy.

On July 14, the parties filed a joint stipulation that stated that because the government agreed to rescind the July directive by removing it from its website and replacing it with the March guidance, California's claims were therefore mooted, and the state agreed to withdraw its motion for a preliminary injunction.

Over the next two months, the plaintiffs continued to monitor the changes ICE made to its website in order to fully effectuate the rescission and submitted status reports to the court.

On October 13, 2020 the government filed a motion to dismiss and on October 19, California filed a notice of voluntary dismissal.

Jack Hibbard - 07/14/2020
Chandler Hart-McGonigle - 11/29/2020


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Defendant-type
Jurisdiction-wide
Law-enforcement
General
School/University Facilities
School/University policies
Immigration/Border
Admission - criteria
Admission - procedure
Deportation - criteria
Deportation - procedure
Visas - criteria
Visas - procedures
Plaintiff Type
State Plaintiff
Causes of Action 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 State of California
Class action status sought No
Class action status outcome Not sought
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Defendant
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief None
Source of Relief None
Filed 07/09/2020
Case Closing Year 2020
Case Ongoing No
Case Listing IM-CA-0165 : The Regents of the University of California v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security (N.D. Cal.)
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-DC-0081 : Johns Hopkins University v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security (D.D.C.)
IM-WA-0045 : State of Washington v. United States Department of Homeland Security (W.D. Wash.)
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)
Court Docket(s)
N.D. Cal.
10/19/2020
4:20-cv-04592-JST
IM-CA-0167-9000.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
N.D. Cal.
07/09/2020
Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief [ECF# 1]
IM-CA-0167-0001.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
N.D. Cal.
07/13/2020
The Regents of the University of California's Administrative Motion to Consider Whether Cases Should Be Related [ECF# 10, 10-1]
IM-CA-0167-0002.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
N.D. Cal.
07/13/2020
Plaintiff's Notice of Motion and Motion for Preliminary Injunction; Memorandum of Points and Authorities in Support Thereof [ECF# 12, 12-1]
IM-CA-0167-0003.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
N.D. Cal.
07/14/2020
Related Case Order [ECF# 14]
IM-CA-0167-0004.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
N.D. Cal.
09/04/2020
Joint Status Report [ECF# 23]
IM-CA-0167-0005.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Tigar, Jon Steven (State Trial Court, N.D. Cal.) show/hide docs
IM-CA-0167-0004 | IM-CA-0167-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Alcaraz, Domonique Celeste (California) show/hide docs
IM-CA-0167-0001 | IM-CA-0167-0003 | IM-CA-0167-0005 | IM-CA-0167-9000
Becerra, Xavier (California) show/hide docs
IM-CA-0167-0001 | IM-CA-0167-0002 | IM-CA-0167-0003 | IM-CA-0167-0005
Malouff, Marissa (California) show/hide docs
IM-CA-0167-0001 | IM-CA-0167-0003 | IM-CA-0167-0005 | IM-CA-0167-9000
Newman, Michael L. (California) show/hide docs
IM-CA-0167-0001 | IM-CA-0167-0003 | IM-CA-0167-0005
Sherman, Lee Isaac (California) show/hide docs
IM-CA-0167-0001 | IM-CA-0167-0002 | IM-CA-0167-0003 | IM-CA-0167-0005 | IM-CA-0167-9000
Singh, Jasleen K (California) show/hide docs
IM-CA-0167-0001 | IM-CA-0167-0003 | IM-CA-0167-0005 | IM-CA-0167-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Anderson, David Lloyd (California) show/hide docs
IM-CA-0167-0002
Kurlan, Elizabeth D. (California) show/hide docs
IM-CA-0167-9000
Winslow, Sara (California) show/hide docs
IM-CA-0167-0002 | IM-CA-0167-9000
Other Lawyers Chun, Marisa A (California) show/hide docs
IM-CA-0167-0002
Jones, Molly A. (California) show/hide docs
IM-CA-0167-0002
Kuwahara, Emily Tomoko (California) show/hide docs
IM-CA-0167-0002
Lorenzen, Thomas A. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-CA-0167-0002
Robinson, Charles Furlonge (California) show/hide docs
IM-CA-0167-0002
Romano, Jennifer Salzman (California) show/hide docs
IM-CA-0167-0002 | IM-CA-0167-9000
Sanchez, Sonya U. (California) show/hide docs
IM-CA-0167-0002
Wolff, Daniel W (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-CA-0167-0002
Woodall, Allison M. (California) show/hide docs
IM-CA-0167-0002
Wu, Margaret Louisa (California) show/hide docs
IM-CA-0167-0002

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