Case: American Immigration Council v. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement

1:18-cv-01531 | U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia

Filed Date: June 27, 2018

Case Ongoing

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

On June 27, 2018, the American Immigration Council filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. The plaintiff sued the U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement ("ICE"), the U.S. Customs & Border Protection ("CBP"), and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security ("DHS") under 5 U.S.C. § 552, the Freedom of Information Act ("FOIA"). The plaintiff sought injunctive relief and attorneys' fees. The plaintiff sought to compel the disclosure of records regarding the separati…

On June 27, 2018, the American Immigration Council filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. The plaintiff sued the U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement ("ICE"), the U.S. Customs & Border Protection ("CBP"), and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security ("DHS") under 5 U.S.C. § 552, the Freedom of Information Act ("FOIA"). The plaintiff sought injunctive relief and attorneys' fees. The plaintiff sought to compel the disclosure of records regarding the separation of families who arrive at the U.S.-Mexico border. The statutory deadline for a response had expired, and the defendants had failed to make a determination on the requests as required by FOIA. This case was assigned to District Judge Royce C. Lamberth.

The plaintiff claimed there was an urgent need for information regarding the defendants' current policies and practices regarding the treatment of noncitizens (many of them seeking asylum) who arrive as family units at the U.S.-Mexico border and, in many cases, have been prosecuted and separated. The plaintiff claimed that the defendants had been the primary decisionmakers in the implementation of this policy and in the initial separation of families. As such, the plaintiff claimed that records explaining the defendants' policies and practices were of vital importance to the public's understanding of the implementation of family separation.

On August 29, 2018, Judge Lamberth ordered the defendants to produce a Vaughn Index with a supporting motion to dismiss or motion for summary judgement, as appropriate. A Vaughn Index is a document that agencies prepare in FOIA litigation to justify the withholding of information under a FOIA exemption.

On September 21, 2018, the defendants filed an unopposed motion to stay the proceedings. None of the defendants had completed processing the plaintiff's FOIA requests. The defendants forwarded to the plaintiff proposed search terms to be used in completing the FOIA searches. The plaintiff stated that it would respond to the defendants' proposals on or before September 28, 2018. Judge Lamberth granted the motion and stayed the proceedings until October 15, 2018. Judge Lamberth also ordered the parties to file a proposed schedule for further proceedings on or before October 15, 2018.

After this stay and another short stay due to a lapse in government appropriations in early 2019, the parties continued filing status reports. On August 30, 2019, the parties proposed a discovery schedule where DHS, ICE, and CBP would process 500 pages of material per month in response to the plaintiff's search requests. The parties promised to provide more status updates at the end of the year regarding the state of discovery on this schedule.

The parties released a joint status report on December 3, 2019; ICE and CBP met their processing goals, and DHS largely transferred the work to its component offices when it found relevant records. The plaintiffs contested part of ICE's disclosure, saying the agency unnecessarily delayed in telling them that it would be unable to process certain subparts of the FOIA request due to the volume of documents involved. Both parties filed proposed orders with the status report; the plaintiff's proposed order asked for ICE to continue with 500 pages a month of discovery, while the defendants only asked for further joint status reports in early 2020.

Questions over ICE's compliance with the discovery schedule continued into 2020; in a March 20, 2020 status report, the plaintiffs again questioned the delay in compliance and ICE reiterated that the volume of documents was greater than anticipated. The parties' proposed order from this status report reflects the positions from late 2019.

The court sided with the plaintiff's view on March 23, 2020, ordering ICE to provide updates on processing in line with the proposed schedule from 2019 every six weeks. The next status report is due June 22, 2020.

Summary Authors

Victoria Fiengo (9/30/2018)

Ellen Aldin (6/9/2020)

People

For PACER's information on parties and their attorneys, see: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/7295196/parties/american-immigration-council-v-us-immigration-customs-enforcement/


Judge(s)

Lamberth, Royce C. (District of Columbia)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Asta, Christopher James (District of Columbia)

Cedarbaum, Jonathan (District of Columbia)

Cohen, Rachel Weiner (District of Columbia)

Creighton, Emily J. (District of Columbia)

Qian, Ni (District of Columbia)

Walsh, John F. (Colorado)

Yin, David Pu (District of Columbia)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Braswell, Marina Utgoff (District of Columbia)

Gonzalez, Brenda (District of Columbia)

Judge(s)

Lamberth, Royce C. (District of Columbia)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Asta, Christopher James (District of Columbia)

Cedarbaum, Jonathan (District of Columbia)

Cohen, Rachel Weiner (District of Columbia)

Creighton, Emily J. (District of Columbia)

Qian, Ni (District of Columbia)

Walsh, John F. (Colorado)

Yin, David Pu (District of Columbia)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Braswell, Marina Utgoff (District of Columbia)

Gonzalez, Brenda (District of Columbia)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

Docket [PACER]

American Immigration Council v. U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement

April 30, 2020 Docket
1

Complaint

American Immigration Council v. U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement

June 27, 2018 Complaint
16

Order

Aug. 29, 2018 Order/Opinion
17

Defendants' Unopposed Motion to Stayorder and Order

Sept. 21, 2018 Order/Opinion
50

Order

American Immigration Council v. U.S. Immigrations & Customs Enforcement

March 23, 2020 Order/Opinion

Docket

See docket on RECAP: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/7295196/american-immigration-council-v-us-immigration-customs-enforcement/

Last updated May 12, 2022, 8 p.m.

ECF Number Description Date Link
1

COMPLAINT against U.S. CUSTOMS & BORDER PROTECTION, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY, U.S. IMMIGRATION & CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT ( Filing fee $ 400 receipt number 0090-5558276) filed by AMERICAN IMMIGRATION COUNCIL. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit A, # 2 Exhibit B, # 3 Exhibit C, # 4 Exhibit D1, # 5 Exhibit D2, # 6 Exhibit E1, # 7 Exhibit E2, # 8 Exhibit F, # 9 Exhibit G, # 10 Exhibit H1, # 11 Exhibit H2, # 12 Civil Cover Sheet, # 13 Summons US Customs & Border Protection, # 14 Summons US Department of Homeland Security, # 15 Summons US Immigration Customs Enforcement)(Qian, Ni) (Entered: 06/27/2018)

June 27, 2018 PACER
2

Corporate Disclosure Statement by AMERICAN IMMIGRATION COUNCIL. (Qian, Ni) (Entered: 06/27/2018)

June 27, 2018 PACER
3

MOTION for Leave to Appear Pro Hac Vice :Attorney Name- John F. Walsh, :Firm- Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP, :Address- 1225 Seventeenth St. Suite 2600 Denver, CO 80202. Phone No. - 720 274 3154. Fax No. - (720) 274-3133 Filing fee $ 100, receipt number 0090-5558458. Fee Status: Fee Paid. by AMERICAN IMMIGRATION COUNCIL (Attachments: # 1 Declaration of John F. Walsh in Support of Motion, # 2 Text of Proposed Order)(Qian, Ni) (Entered: 06/27/2018)

June 27, 2018 PACER
4

WITHDRAWN PURSUANT TO ENTRY 7 ..... MOTION for Leave to Appear Pro Hac Vice :Attorney Name- Rachel Weiner Cohen, :Firm- Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP, :Address- Rachel.Cohen@wilmerhale.com. Phone No. - 202 663 6068. Fax No. - (202) 663-6363 Filing fee $ 100, receipt number 0090-5558596. Fee Status: Fee Paid. by AMERICAN IMMIGRATION COUNCIL (Attachments: # 1 Declaration of Rachel W. Cohen in Support of Motion, # 2 Text of Proposed Order)(Qian, Ni) Modified on 7/27/2018 (zjf). (Entered: 06/27/2018)

June 27, 2018 PACER
5

NOTICE of Appearance by Emily Creighton on behalf of AMERICAN IMMIGRATION COUNCIL (Creighton, Emily) (Entered: 06/27/2018)

June 27, 2018 PACER

Case Assigned to Judge Royce C. Lamberth. (zsth)

June 27, 2018 PACER
6

SUMMONS (3) Issued Electronically as to U.S. CUSTOMS & BORDER PROTECTION, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY, U.S. IMMIGRATION & CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT. (Attachments: # 1 Notice and Consent)(zsth) (Entered: 06/28/2018)

June 28, 2018 PACER

SUMMONS Not Issued as to US Attorney and US Attorney General. (zsth)

June 28, 2018 PACER
7

NOTICE OF WITHDRAWAL OF MOTION by AMERICAN IMMIGRATION COUNCIL re 4 MOTION for Leave to Appear Pro Hac Vice :Attorney Name- Rachel Weiner Cohen, :Firm- Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP, :Address- Rachel.Cohen@wilmerhale.com. Phone No. - 202 663 6068. Fax No. - (202) 663-6363 Filing fee & (Qian, Ni) (Entered: 07/25/2018)

July 25, 2018 PACER
8

NOTICE of Appearance by Marina Utgoff Braswell on behalf of U.S. CUSTOMS & BORDER PROTECTION, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY, U.S. IMMIGRATION & CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT (Braswell, Marina) (Entered: 07/30/2018)

July 30, 2018 PACER
9

RETURN OF SERVICE/AFFIDAVIT of Summons and Complaint Executed as to the United States Attorney. Date of Service Upon United States Attorney on 7/5/2018. Answer due for ALL FEDERAL DEFENDANTS by 8/4/2018. (Attachments: # 1 Summons Executed as to the US Department of Homeland Security, # 2 Summons Executed as to US Customs& Border Protection, # 3 Affidavit of Service as to US Attorney General Jeff Sessions, # 4 Affidavit of Service as to US Attorney's Office - District of DC)(Qian, Ni) (Entered: 08/03/2018)

Aug. 3, 2018 PACER
10

Unopposed MOTION for Extension of Time to File Response/Reply to Complaint by U.S. CUSTOMS & BORDER PROTECTION, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY, U.S. IMMIGRATION & CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT (Braswell, Marina) (Entered: 08/03/2018)

Aug. 3, 2018 PACER
11

RETURN OF SERVICE/AFFIDAVIT of Summons and Complaint Executed. U.S. CUSTOMS & BORDER PROTECTION served on 7/3/2018; U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY served on 7/3/2018; U.S. IMMIGRATION & CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT served on 7/2/2018, RETURN OF SERVICE/AFFIDAVIT of Summons and Complaint Executed on United States Attorney General. Date of Service Upon United States Attorney General 07/05/2018. (See Docket Entry 9 to view document) (jf) (Entered: 08/06/2018)

Aug. 3, 2018 PACER

NOTICE OF ERROR re 9 Summons Returned Executed in FOIA as to U.S. Attorney; emailed to Ni.Qian@wilmerhale.com, cc'd 7 associated attorneys -- The PDF file you docketed contained errors: 1. DO NOT REFILE - Counsel is reminded to docket all parts of their filing(s) (zjf, )

Aug. 6, 2018 PACER
12

ORDER granting 10 Motion for Extension of Time to File Response/Reply to Complaint ; Responses due by 8/22/2018. Signed by Judge Royce C. Lamberth on 8/7/18. (lsj) (Entered: 08/08/2018)

Aug. 8, 2018 PACER
13

NOTICE of Appearance by John F. Walsh on behalf of AMERICAN IMMIGRATION COUNCIL (Walsh, John) (Entered: 08/16/2018)

Aug. 16, 2018 PACER
14

ORDER granting 3 Motion for Leave to Appear Pro Hac Vice. Signed by Judge Royce C. Lamberth on 8/21/18. (lsj) (Entered: 08/22/2018)

Aug. 22, 2018 PACER
15

ANSWER to Complaint by U.S. CUSTOMS & BORDER PROTECTION, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY, U.S. IMMIGRATION & CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT.(Braswell, Marina) (Entered: 08/22/2018)

Aug. 22, 2018 RECAP
16

ORDER: Government shall produce a Vaughn index with a supporting motion to dismiss or motion for summary judgment, as appropriate, within 30 days of this date (see Order for details). Signed by Judge Royce C. Lamberth on 8/28/18. (lcrcl3) (Main Document 16 replaced on 8/29/2018) (zlsj). (Entered: 08/29/2018)

Aug. 29, 2018 RECAP

Set/Reset Deadlines: Vaughn Index with supporting Dispositive Motions or Summary Judgment motions due by 9/28/2018. (lsj)

Aug. 29, 2018 PACER
17

Unopposed MOTION to Stay re 16 Scheduling Order, by U.S. CUSTOMS & BORDER PROTECTION, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY, U.S. IMMIGRATION & CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT (Braswell, Marina) (Entered: 09/21/2018)

Sept. 21, 2018 RECAP
18

MOTION for Leave to Appear Pro Hac Vice :Attorney Name- Christopher James Asta, :Firm- Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP, :Address- 1875 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, 20006. Phone No. - 202-663-6332. Fax No. - (202) 663-6363 Filing fee $ 100, receipt number 0090-5709861. Fee Status: Fee Paid. by AMERICAN IMMIGRATION COUNCIL (Attachments: # 1 Declaration of Christopher Asta, # 2 Text of Proposed Order)(Walsh, John) (Entered: 09/27/2018)

Sept. 27, 2018 PACER
19

MOTION for Leave to Appear Pro Hac Vice :Attorney Name- David P. Yin, :Firm- Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP, :Address- 1875 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, 20006. Phone No. - 202-663-6677. Fax No. - (202) 663-6363 Filing fee $ 100, receipt number 0090-5710071. Fee Status: Fee Paid. by AMERICAN IMMIGRATION COUNCIL (Attachments: # 1 Declaration of David P. Yin, # 2 Text of Proposed Order)(Walsh, John) (Entered: 09/27/2018)

Sept. 27, 2018 PACER
20

NOTICE OF WITHDRAWAL OF APPEARANCE as to AMERICAN IMMIGRATION COUNCIL. Attorney Ni Qian terminated. (Qian, Ni) (Entered: 10/03/2018)

Oct. 3, 2018 PACER
21

ORDER granting 19 Motion for Leave to Appear Pro Hac Vice. Signed by Judge Royce C. Lamberth on 10/05/2018. (lcrcl3) (Entered: 10/05/2018)

Oct. 5, 2018 PACER
22

ORDER granting 18 Motion for Leave to Appear Pro Hac Vice. Signed by Judge Royce C. Lamberth on 10/05/2018. (lcrcl3) (Entered: 10/05/2018)

Oct. 5, 2018 PACER
23

ORDER granting 17 Motion to Stay proceedings until October 15, 2018. The Court further ORDERS the parties to file a proposed schedule for further proceedings on or before October 15, 2018. Signed by Judge Royce C. Lamberth on 10/05/2018. (lcrcl3) Modified on 10/9/2018 (zlsj). (Entered: 10/05/2018)

Oct. 5, 2018 PACER
24

Unopposed MOTION for Extension of Time to File Joint Schedule for Further Proceedings by U.S. CUSTOMS & BORDER PROTECTION, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY, U.S. IMMIGRATION & CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT (Braswell, Marina) (Entered: 10/15/2018)

Oct. 15, 2018 PACER
25

ORDER granting 24 Motion for Extension of Time to File. The parties shall file a proposed schedule by 10/19/2018. Signed by Judge Royce C. Lamberth on 10/17/18. (lcrcl3) (Entered: 10/17/2018)

Oct. 17, 2018 PACER
26

Joint MOTION for Scheduling Order (Joint Motion for Entry of Scheduling Order), by AMERICAN IMMIGRATION COUNCIL (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order)(Walsh, John) (Entered: 10/19/2018)

Oct. 19, 2018 PACER
27

ORDER granting 26 Joint Proposed Scheduling Order. Signed by Judge Royce C. Lamberth on 11/21/2018. (lcrcl3) (Entered: 11/26/2018)

Nov. 26, 2018 PACER
28

MOTION for Extension of Time to Comply with December 5, 2018, and December 10, 2018 by U.S. CUSTOMS & BORDER PROTECTION, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY, U.S. IMMIGRATION & CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT (Braswell, Marina) (Entered: 12/04/2018)

Dec. 4, 2018 PACER
29

Memorandum in opposition to re 28 MOTION for Extension of Time to Comply with December 5, 2018, and December 10, 2018 and request for expedited consideration filed by AMERICAN IMMIGRATION COUNCIL. (Attachments: # 1 [Plaintiff's Proposed] Scheduling Order, # 2 Declaration of David P. Yin in Support of Plaintiff's Brief in Opposition to Defendants' Motion for Extension of Time, # 3 Exhibit A, # 4 Exhibit B)(Walsh, John) (Entered: 12/06/2018)

Dec. 6, 2018 PACER
30

MOTION to Expedite Consideration by AMERICAN IMMIGRATION COUNCIL. (See Docket Entry 29 to view document). (znmw) (Entered: 12/10/2018)

Dec. 6, 2018 PACER
31

REPLY to opposition to motion re 28 MOTION for Extension of Time to Comply with December 5, 2018, and December 10, 2018 Deadlines filed by U.S. CUSTOMS & BORDER PROTECTION, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY, U.S. IMMIGRATION & CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT. (Attachments: # 1 Holzer Declaration)(Braswell, Marina) (Entered: 12/13/2018)

Dec. 13, 2018 PACER
32

MOTION to Stay (Defendants' Motion to Stay Proceedings in Light of Lapse in Appropriations) by U.S. CUSTOMS & BORDER PROTECTION, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY, U.S. IMMIGRATION & CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order)(Braswell, Marina) (Entered: 01/11/2019)

Jan. 11, 2019 PACER
33

Memorandum in opposition to re 32 MOTION to Stay (Defendants' Motion to Stay Proceedings in Light of Lapse in Appropriations) filed by AMERICAN IMMIGRATION COUNCIL. (Walsh, John) (Entered: 01/14/2019)

Jan. 14, 2019 PACER
34

ORDER granting 32 Motion to Stay. Signed by Judge Royce C. Lamberth on 1/24/2019. (lcrcl2) (Entered: 01/24/2019)

Jan. 24, 2019 PACER
35

NOTICE to the Court by U.S. CUSTOMS & BORDER PROTECTION, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY, U.S. IMMIGRATION & CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT (Braswell, Marina) (Entered: 02/08/2019)

Feb. 8, 2019 RECAP
36

RESPONSE re 35 Notice (Other) filed by AMERICAN IMMIGRATION COUNCIL. (Walsh, John) (Entered: 02/12/2019)

Feb. 12, 2019 PACER
37

NOTICE OF WITHDRAWAL OF APPEARANCE as to AMERICAN IMMIGRATION COUNCIL. Attorney John F. Walsh terminated. (Walsh, John) (Entered: 03/29/2019)

March 29, 2019 PACER
38

STATUS REPORT by U.S. CUSTOMS & BORDER PROTECTION, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY, U.S. IMMIGRATION & CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT. (Braswell, Marina) (Entered: 03/29/2019)

March 29, 2019 PACER
39

Status Report

May 25, 2019 PACER
40

Notice of Appearance

June 3, 2019 PACER
41

Status Report

July 24, 2019 PACER
42

Status Report

July 29, 2019 PACER

Notice of QC

July 30, 2019 PACER
43

Response to (non-motion) Document

July 31, 2019 PACER
44

Order on Motion for Extension of Time to

July 31, 2019 PACER

Set/Reset Deadlines

July 31, 2019 PACER
45

Status Report

Aug. 30, 2019 PACER
46

.Order

Sept. 3, 2019 PACER

Set/Reset Deadlines

Sept. 4, 2019 PACER
47

Status Report

Dec. 21, 2019 PACER
48

Notice of Substitution of Counsel

March 19, 2020 PACER
49

Status Report

March 20, 2020 PACER
50

Status Report Order

March 23, 2020 PACER

Set/Reset Deadlines

March 24, 2020 PACER
51

Notice of Appearance

April 30, 2020 PACER
52

Notice of Appearance

June 22, 2020 PACER
53

Status Report

June 22, 2020 PACER
54

Status Report Order

June 25, 2020 PACER
55

Status Report

Sept. 22, 2020 PACER
56

Status Report Order

Sept. 23, 2020 PACER
57

Notice of Withdrawal of Appearance

Sept. 23, 2020 PACER
58

Status Report

1 Text of Proposed Order

View on PACER

Dec. 21, 2020 PACER
59

~Util - Set/Reset Deadlines AND .Order

Dec. 21, 2020 PACER
60

Notice of Withdrawal of Appearance

Jan. 4, 2021 PACER
61

Status Report

March 22, 2021 PACER
62

~Util - Set/Reset Deadlines AND .Order

March 23, 2021 PACER
63

Notice of Withdrawal of Appearance

April 26, 2021 PACER
64

Status Report

June 22, 2021 PACER
65

~Util - Set/Reset Deadlines AND .Order

June 29, 2021 PACER
66

Status Report

Sept. 22, 2021 PACER
67

~Util - Set/Reset Deadlines AND .Order

Sept. 23, 2021 PACER

Set/Reset Deadlines

Sept. 24, 2021 PACER
68

Status Report

Dec. 22, 2021 PACER
69

.Order

Dec. 23, 2021 PACER
70

Status Report

March 22, 2022 PACER
71

Status Report Order AND .Order

April 12, 2022 PACER

State / Territory: District of Columbia

Case Type(s):

Immigration and/or the Border

Special Collection(s):

Trump Administration FOIA cases

Key Dates

Filing Date: June 27, 2018

Case Ongoing: Yes

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

The American Immigration Council seeking the court to compel disclosure under FOIA.

Plaintiff Type(s):

Non-profit NON-religious organization

Attorney Organizations:

American Immigration Council's Legal Action Center

Public Interest Lawyer: Yes

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: No

Class Action Outcome: Not sought

Defendants

U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement , Federal

U.S. Customs & Border Protection, Federal

U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Federal

Defendant Type(s):

Law-enforcement

Case Details

Causes of Action:

Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. § 552

Availably Documents:

Trial Court Docket

Complaint (any)

Outcome

Prevailing Party: None Yet / None

Nature of Relief:

None yet

Source of Relief:

None yet

Content of Injunction:

Required disclosure

Issues

General:

Family reunification

Inadequate citizen complaint investigations and procedures

Juveniles

Language access/needs

Pattern or Practice

Record-keeping

Records Disclosure

Youth / Adult separation

Discrimination-basis:

Immigration status

Type of Facility:

Government-run

Immigration/Border:

Admission - criteria

Admission - procedure

Asylum - criteria

Asylum - procedure

Border police

Deportation - criteria

Deportation - procedure

Detention - criteria

Detention - procedures

Family Separation

Status/Classification

National Origin/Ethnicity:

Hispanic