Case: Commonwealth of Massachusetts et al v. United States Department of Homeland Security

1:20-cv-11311 | U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts

Filed Date: July 13, 2020

Closed Date: Oct. 7, 2020

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

COVID-19 Summary: This is a lawsuit brought by seventeen different states and Washington D.C. 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. On July 15, 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over the same July directive, plaintiffs met with counsel for the government and worked to get the regulations rescinded.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 rem…

COVID-19 Summary: This is a lawsuit brought by seventeen different states and Washington D.C. 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. On July 15, 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over the same July directive, plaintiffs met with counsel for the government and worked to get the regulations rescinded.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 which exempted students from the limitation on online learning credits in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. The plaintiffs filed a notice of voluntary dismissal on October 7, 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

This lawsuit was filed on July 13, 2020 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts by seventeen states and Washington D.C.. Plaintiffs sued the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The complaint alleged two violations of the Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. §§ 701. First, it claimed that the directive constituted arbitrary and capricious agency action, because defendants 1) failed to give a reasoned basis for the shift in policy; 2) failed to consider important aspects of the problem like reliance interests of schools and students, the need to protect health and safety, and the burden on institutions as a result of the directive; 3) failed to consider that the COVID-19 outbreak had not subsided; and 4) because the directive required compliance with a timetable that would have been nearly impossible for plaintiffs to adhere to. Second, plaintiffs argued that the directive was unlawful because defendants failed to use notice-and-comment rulemaking in issuing the new order. They sought declaratory relief that would render the order unlawful, a preliminary and permanent injunction prohibiting defendants from enforcing the order, and an order vacating and setting aside the directive. They also sought attorney's fees and costs. The case was assigned to Judge Allison D. Burroughs.

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

On October 7, 2020, the plaintiffs filed a notice of voluntary dismissal.

Summary Authors

Jack Hibbard (7/15/2020)

Chandler Hart-McGonigle (11/29/2020)

Related Cases

President and Fellows of Harvard College v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security, District of Massachusetts (2020)

State of California v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Northern District of California (2020)

State of Washington v. United States Department of Homeland Security, Western District of Washington (2020)

Johns Hopkins University v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security, District of Columbia (2020)

Z.W. v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Central District of California (2020)

The Regents of the University of California v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Northern District of California (2020)

University of Oregon v. United States Department of Homeland Security, District of Oregon (2020)

People

For PACER's information on parties and their attorneys, see: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/17343331/parties/commonwealth-of-massachusetts-v-united-states-department-of-homeland/


Judge(s)

Burroughs, Allison Dale (Massachusetts)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Bainbridge, Katherine (Maryland)

Balderas, Hector (New Mexico)

Battles, Benjamin D. (Vermont)

Bensky, Anne M (Wisconsin)

Brooks, Angela R. (Massachusetts)

Dewar, Elizabeth N. (Massachusetts)

Dirks, Kathleen B (Massachusetts)

Donovan, Thomas J. Jr. (Vermont)

Downes, Brendan (District of Columbia)

Judge(s)

Burroughs, Allison Dale (Massachusetts)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Bainbridge, Katherine (Maryland)

Balderas, Hector (New Mexico)

Battles, Benjamin D. (Vermont)

Bensky, Anne M (Wisconsin)

Brooks, Angela R. (Massachusetts)

Dewar, Elizabeth N. (Massachusetts)

Dirks, Kathleen B (Massachusetts)

Donovan, Thomas J. Jr. (Vermont)

Downes, Brendan (District of Columbia)

Dunlap, Jeffery Paul (Maryland)

Ellison, Keith (Minnesota)

Eshghi, Abrisham (Massachusetts)

Fischer, Michael J. (Pennsylvania)

Ford, Aaron D. (Nevada)

Fredericks, Jacquelynn Nicole Rich (Colorado)

Frosh, Brian E. (Maryland)

Green, Julie (Massachusetts)

Grewal, Gurbir S. (New Jersey)

Haibon, Shannon (Rhode Island)

Haile, Andrew J. (Massachusetts)

Hammoud, Fadwa Alawieh (Michigan)

Hans, Elspeth L.H. (New Jersey)

Harris, Toni L. (Michigan)

Healey, Maura T. (Massachusetts)

Healey [inactive], Maura (Massachusetts)

Herring, Mark R. (Virginia)

Hill, Nicole (District of Columbia)

Jennings, Kathleen (Delaware)

Kassab, Vanessa L (Delaware)

Kaul, Josh (Wisconsin)

Konopka, Kathleen (District of Columbia)

Madison, Tom (Minnesota)

Maestas, Tania (New Mexico)

Morris, Elizabeth (Illinois)

Muse, Kathryn Hunt (Illinois)

Neronha, Peter F. (Rhode Island)

Nessel, Dana M. (Michigan)

Olson, Eric (Colorado)

Perry, Joshua (Connecticut)

Racine, Karl A. (District of Columbia)

Raoul, Kwame (Illinois)

Rosenblum, Ellen F. (Oregon)

Samuels, Jessica Merry (Virginia)

Sanders, Joseph (Illinois)

Shapiro, Joshua D. (Pennsylvania)

Stern, Heidi Parry (Nevada)

Sullivan, Steven M. (Maryland)

Taylor, Abigail B. (Massachusetts)

Thompson, Julio A. (Vermont)

Tong, William (Connecticut)

Van Meter, Heather J. (Oregon)

Weiser, Philip J. (Colorado)

Wright, Christian Douglas (Delaware)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

1:20-cv-11311

Docket

Commonwealth of Massachusetts v. United States Department of Homeland Security

Oct. 7, 2020

Oct. 7, 2020

Docket
2

1:20-cv-11311

Plaintiff States' Motion for Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction

Commonwealth of Massachusetts v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security

July 13, 2020

July 13, 2020

Pleading / Motion / Brief
4

1:20-cv-11311

Plaintiff States' Memorandum of Law in Support of their Motion for a Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction

Commonwealth of Massachusetts v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security

July 13, 2020

July 13, 2020

Pleading / Motion / Brief
1

1:20-cv-11311

Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief

Commonwealth of Massachusetts v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security

July 13, 2020

July 13, 2020

Complaint

Resources

Docket

See docket on RECAP: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/17343331/commonwealth-of-massachusetts-v-united-states-department-of-homeland/

Last updated May 28, 2022, 3:10 a.m.

ECF Number Description Date Link Date / Link
1

COMPLAINT of Massachusetts et al. against All Defendants Filing fee: $ 400, receipt number 0101-8324969 (Fee Status: Filing Fee paid), filed by Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Commonwealth of Virginia, District of Columbia, State of Colorado, State of Connecticut, State of Delaware, State of Illinois, State of Maryland, State of Michigan, State of Minnesota, State of Nevada, State of New Jersey, State of New Mexico, State of Oregon, State of Rhode Island, State of Vermont, State of Wisconsin. (Attachments: # 1 Category Sheet, # 2 Civil Cover Sheet)(Taylor, Abigail) (Entered: 07/13/2020)

1 Category Sheet

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2 Civil Cover Sheet

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July 13, 2020

July 13, 2020

RECAP
2

MOTION for Preliminary Injunction by Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Commonwealth of Virginia, District of Columbia, State of Colorado, State of Connecticut, State of Delaware, State of Illinois, State of Maryland, State of Michigan, State of Minnesota, State of Nevada, State of New Jersey, State of New Mexico, State of Oregon, State of Rhode Island, State of Vermont, State of Wisconsin. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit List of Declarations)(Taylor, Abigail) (Entered: 07/13/2020)

1 Exhibit List of Declarations

View on RECAP

July 13, 2020

July 13, 2020

RECAP
3

ELECTRONIC NOTICE of Case Assignment. Judge Allison D. Burroughs assigned to case. If the trial Judge issues an Order of Reference of any matter in this case to a Magistrate Judge, the matter will be transmitted to Magistrate Judge Judith G. Dein. (Finn, Mary) (Entered: 07/13/2020)

July 13, 2020

July 13, 2020

PACER
4

MEMORANDUM in Support re 2 MOTION for Preliminary Injunction filed by Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Commonwealth of Virginia, District of Columbia, State of Colorado, State of Connecticut, State of Delaware, State of Illinois, State of Maryland, State of Michigan, State of Minnesota, State of Nevada, State of New Jersey, State of New Mexico, State of Oregon, State of Rhode Island, State of Vermont, State of Wisconsin. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit Decl. Connecticut State Colleges and Universities, # 2 Exhibit Decl. University of Connecticut, # 3 Exhibit Decl. Yale University, # 4 Exhibit Decl. Chicago State University, # 5 Exhibit Decl. Depaul University, # 6 Exhibit Decl. Eastern Illinois University, # 7 Exhibit Decl. Governors State University, # 8 Exhibit Decl. Illinois State University, # 9 Exhibit Decl. Loyola University of Chicago, # 10 Exhibit Decl. Northeastern Illinois University, # 11 Exhibit Decl. Northern Illinois University, # 12 Exhibit Decl. Northwestern University, # 13 Exhibit Decl. School of the Art Institute of Chicago, # 14 Exhibit Decl. Southern Illinois University Carbondale, # 15 Exhibit Decl. Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, # 16 Exhibit Decl. University of Chicago, # 17 Exhibit Decl. University of Illinois System, # 18 Exhibit Decl. Western Illinois University, # 19 Exhibit Decl. University System of Maryland, # 20 Exhibit Decl. Association of Independent Colleges & Universities in Massachusetts, # 21 Exhibit Decl. Boston University, # 22 Exhibit Decl. Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, # 23 Exhibit Decl. Massachusetts Association of Community Colleges, # 24 Exhibit Decl. Massachusetts State Universities, # 25 Exhibit Decl. Northeastern University, # 26 Exhibit Decl. University of Massachusetts, # 27 Exhibit Decl. Minnesota State Colleges and Universities, # 28 Exhibit Decl. New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, # 29 Exhibit Decl. State of Oregon Higher Education Coordinating Commission, # 30 Exhibit Decl. Rutgers University, # 31 Exhibit Decl. Tufts University, # 32 Exhibit Decl. University of Wisconsin Stevens Point, # 33 Exhibit Decl. University of Wisconsin Stout, # 34 Exhibit Decl. University of Wisconsin Milwaukee, # 35 Exhibit Decl. Columbia College Chicago, # 36 Exhibit Decl. University of Vermont and State Agricultural College, # 37 Exhibit Decl. University of Wisconsin Madison, # 38 Exhibit Decl. Rochelle Walensky, M.D., Mph, # 39 Exhibit Decl. University of the District of Columbia, # 40 Exhibit Decl. Virginia Polytechnic Institute)(Taylor, Abigail) (Entered: 07/13/2020)

1 Exhibit Decl. Connecticut State Colleges and Universities

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2 Exhibit Decl. University of Connecticut

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3 Exhibit Decl. Yale University

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4 Exhibit Decl. Chicago State University

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5 Exhibit Decl. Depaul University

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6 Exhibit Decl. Eastern Illinois University

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7 Exhibit Decl. Governors State University

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8 Exhibit Decl. Illinois State University

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9 Exhibit Decl. Loyola University of Chicago

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10 Exhibit Decl. Northeastern Illinois University

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11 Exhibit Decl. Northern Illinois University

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12 Exhibit Decl. Northwestern University

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13 Exhibit Decl. School of the Art Institute of Chicago

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14 Exhibit Decl. Southern Illinois University Carbondale

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15 Exhibit Decl. Southern Illinois University Edwardsville

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16 Exhibit Decl. University of Chicago

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17 Exhibit Decl. University of Illinois System

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18 Exhibit Decl. Western Illinois University

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19 Exhibit Decl. University System of Maryland

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20 Exhibit Decl. Association of Independent Colleges & Universities in Massachusett

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21 Exhibit Decl. Boston University

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22 Exhibit Decl. Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce

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23 Exhibit Decl. Massachusetts Association of Community Colleges

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24 Exhibit Decl. Massachusetts State Universities

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25 Exhibit Decl. Northeastern University

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26 Exhibit Decl. University of Massachusetts

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27 Exhibit Decl. Minnesota State Colleges and Universities

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28 Exhibit Decl. New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology

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29 Exhibit Decl. State of Oregon Higher Education Coordinating Commission

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30 Exhibit Decl. Rutgers University

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31 Exhibit Decl. Tufts University

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32 Exhibit Decl. University of Wisconsin Stevens Point

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33 Exhibit Decl. University of Wisconsin Stout

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34 Exhibit Decl. University of Wisconsin Milwaukee

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35 Exhibit Decl. Columbia College Chicago

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36 Exhibit Decl. University of Vermont and State Agricultural College

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37 Exhibit Decl. University of Wisconsin Madison

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38 Exhibit Decl. Rochelle Walensky, M.D., Mph

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39 Exhibit Decl. University of the District of Columbia

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40 Exhibit Decl. Virginia Polytechnic Institute

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July 13, 2020

July 13, 2020

RECAP
5

Summons Issued as to All Defendants. Counsel receiving this notice electronically should download this summons, complete one for each defendant and serve it in accordance with Fed.R.Civ.P. 4 and LR 4.1. Summons will be mailed to plaintiff(s) not receiving notice electronically for completion of service. (Warnock, Douglas) (Entered: 07/13/2020)

July 13, 2020

July 13, 2020

RECAP
6

NOTICE of Appearance by Elizabeth N. Dewar on behalf of Commonwealth of Massachusetts (Dewar, Elizabeth) (Entered: 07/13/2020)

July 13, 2020

July 13, 2020

PACER
7

NOTICE of Appearance by Andrew J. Haile on behalf of Commonwealth of Massachusetts (Haile, Andrew) (Entered: 07/13/2020)

July 13, 2020

July 13, 2020

PACER
8

NOTICE of Appearance by Julie E. Green on behalf of Commonwealth of Massachusetts (Green, Julie) (Entered: 07/13/2020)

July 13, 2020

July 13, 2020

PACER
9

NOTICE of Appearance by Abigail Taylor on behalf of Commonwealth of Massachusetts (Taylor, Abigail) (Entered: 07/13/2020)

July 13, 2020

July 13, 2020

PACER
10

NOTICE of Appearance by Katherine B. Dirks on behalf of Commonwealth of Massachusetts (Dirks, Katherine) (Entered: 07/13/2020)

July 13, 2020

July 13, 2020

PACER
11

NOTICE of Appearance by Abrisham Eshghi on behalf of Commonwealth of Massachusetts (Eshghi, Abrisham) (Entered: 07/13/2020)

July 13, 2020

July 13, 2020

RECAP
12

ELECTRONIC NOTICE of Hearing. Telephone Conference set for 7/14/2020 03:45 PM in Courtroom 17 before Judge Allison D. Burroughs. (Folan, Karen) (Entered: 07/14/2020)

July 14, 2020

July 14, 2020

PACER
13

Electronic Clerk's Notes for proceedings held before Judge Allison D. Burroughs: Telephone Conference held on 7/14/2020. Finding as moot 2 MOTION for Preliminary Injunction filed by Plaintiffs. Plaintiffs to file a status report in a week.Status Report due by 7/21/2020. (Court Reporter: Joan Daly at joanmdaly62@gmail.com.)(Attorneys present: Taylor, Farquhar) (Folan, Karen) (Entered: 07/14/2020)

July 14, 2020

July 14, 2020

PACER
14

STATUS REPORT by Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Commonwealth of Virginia, District of Columbia, State of Colorado, State of Connecticut, State of Delaware, State of Illinois, State of Maryland, State of Michigan, State of Minnesota, State of Nevada, State of New Jersey, State of New Mexico, State of Oregon, State of Rhode Island, State of Vermont, State of Wisconsin. (Taylor, Abigail) (Entered: 07/21/2020)

July 21, 2020

July 21, 2020

PACER
15

NOTICE of Voluntary Dismissal by All Plaintiffs (Taylor, Abigail) (Entered: 10/07/2020)

Oct. 7, 2020

Oct. 7, 2020

PACER

Case Details

State / Territory: Massachusetts

Case Type(s):

Immigration and/or the Border

Special Collection(s):

COVID-19 (novel coronavirus)

Key Dates

Filing Date: July 13, 2020

Closing Date: Oct. 7, 2020

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Commonwealth of Virginia, District of Columbia, State of Colorado, State of Connecticut, State of Delaware, State of Illinois, State of Maryland, State of Michigan, State of Minnesota, State of Nevada, State of New Jersey, State of New Mexico, State of Oregon, State of Rhode Island, State of Vermont, State of Wisconsin

Plaintiff Type(s):

State Plaintiff

Public Interest Lawyer: No

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: No

Class Action Outcome: Not sought

Defendants

United States Department of Homeland Security, Federal

United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Federal

Defendant Type(s):

Jurisdiction-wide

Law-enforcement

Case Details

Causes of Action:

Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. §§ 551 et seq.

Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201

Availably Documents:

Trial Court Docket

Complaint (any)

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Defendant

Nature of Relief:

None

Source of Relief:

None

Issues

General:

School/University Facilities

School/University policies

COVID-19:

Mitigation Denied

Mitigation Requested

Immigration/Border:

Admission - criteria

Admission - procedure

Deportation - criteria

Deportation - procedure

Visas - criteria

Visas - procedures