Case: Haitian Refugee Ctr. v. Smith

1:79-cv-02086 | U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida

Filed Date: May 9, 1979

Closed Date: 1986

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

On May 9, 1979, the Haitian Refugee Center and eight individual Haitians brought a class action on behalf of over 4,000 Haitians in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, challenging the legality of the "Haitian Program." This program was instituted by the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) in the summer of 1978 to accelerate the processing of applications made by Haitians for asylum. Haitians fled their country and feared persecution, imprisonment and death if…

On May 9, 1979, the Haitian Refugee Center and eight individual Haitians brought a class action on behalf of over 4,000 Haitians in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, challenging the legality of the "Haitian Program." This program was instituted by the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) in the summer of 1978 to accelerate the processing of applications made by Haitians for asylum. Haitians fled their country and feared persecution, imprisonment and death if they returned. Under the program, all of their political asylum claims were denied by the INS. The Haitians alleged that the actions of INS constituted impermissible discrimination on the basis of their national origin.

After a non-jury trial, the District Court (Judge James Lawrence King) issued a lengthy opinion dated July 2, 1980, in which it found that the manner in which INS treated the more than 4,000 Haitian plaintiffs "violated the Constitution, the immigration statutes, international agreements, INS regulations and INS operating procedures. It must stop." Haitian Refugee Center v. Civiletti, 503 F.Supp. 442 (S.D.Fla.1980). Judge King ordered the government to submit a plan for reprocessing the applications for asylum to the court for its approval and enjoined further deportation proceedings against class members. The government appealed and the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed with some modifications. Haitian Refugee Center v. Smith, 676 F.2d 1023 (5th Cir.1982).

After the appeal, the District Court awarded the plaintiffs attorneys' fees and costs of $441,094.98. Haitian Refugee Center, Inc. v. Smith, 644 F.Supp. 382 (S.D.Fla. 1984). The Court of Appeals affirmed. Haitian Refugee Center v. Meese, 791 F.2d 1489 (11th Cir. 1986). On rehearing, the judgment was vacated in part, to the extent that the District Court's fee award included "fees for fees" ($14,472.35 awarded to the attorneys for their work on the application for fees in this case). In all other respects, the fee award was left intact. Haitian Refugee Center v. Meese, 804 F.2d 1573 (11th Cir. 1986).

Summary Authors

Dan Dalton (1/3/2008)

People


Judge(s)

Clark, Thomas Alonzo (Georgia)

Henderson, Albert John (Georgia)

Hill, James Clinkscales (Florida)

Hoffman, Walter Edward (Virginia)

King, James Lawrence (Florida)

Lynne, Seybourn Harris (Alabama)

Vance, Robert Smith (Alabama)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Barker, Timothy S. (California)

Bierman, Donald I. (Florida)

Caldwell, Gary Lee (Florida)

Judge(s)

Clark, Thomas Alonzo (Georgia)

Henderson, Albert John (Georgia)

Hill, James Clinkscales (Florida)

Hoffman, Walter Edward (Virginia)

King, James Lawrence (Florida)

Lynne, Seybourn Harris (Alabama)

Vance, Robert Smith (Alabama)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Barker, Timothy S. (California)

Bierman, Donald I. (Florida)

Caldwell, Gary Lee (Florida)

Dick, Mary D. (District of Columbia)

Forester, Steven (Florida)

Gollobin, Ira (New York)

Hunt, Thomas (Pennsylvania)

Hunter, Thomas S (South Carolina)

Hustead, Robert M. (Florida)

Kline, Thomas R. (Pennsylvania)

Kurzban, Ira J. (Florida)

Schey, Peter A. (California)

Sonnett, Neal R. (Florida)

Swartz, Dale (District of Columbia)

Trease, Nancy A. (Texas)

Weiss, Vera (Florida)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Bates, Lloyd G. Jr. (Florida)

Couvillon, Donald A. (District of Columbia)

Eskenazi, Jack (Florida)

Fromstein, Daniel E. (District of Columbia)

Kanter, William (District of Columbia)

Kellner, Leon (Florida)

Nail, William (Florida)

Nimkoff, Peter (Florida)

Singer, Michael Jay (District of Columbia)

Wampler, Atlee W. III (Florida)

Willard, Richard K. (District of Columbia)

Young, Rex (Florida)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

Opinion

Haitian Refugee Center v. Civiletti

503 F.Supp. 442

July 2, 1980 Order/Opinion

Opinion

Haitian Refugee Center v. Smith

U. S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit

676 F.2d 1023

May 24, 1982 Order/Opinion

Opinion

Haitian Refugee Center, Inc. v. Smith

644 F.Supp. 382

May 25, 1984 Order/Opinion

Opinion

Haitian Refugee Center v. Meese

U. S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit

791 F.2d 1489

June 24, 1986 Order/Opinion

Opinion

Haitian Refugee Center v. Meese

U. S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit

804 F.2d 1573

Dec. 4, 1986 Order/Opinion

Docket

Last updated May 11, 2022, 8 p.m.

Docket sheet not available via the Clearinghouse.

State / Territory: Florida

Case Type(s):

Immigration and/or the Border

Key Dates

Filing Date: May 9, 1979

Closing Date: 1986

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

Over 4,000 Haitians who had petitioned for political asylum in this country.

Plaintiff Type(s):

Private Plaintiff

Public Interest Lawyer: Yes

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: Yes

Class Action Outcome: Granted

Defendants

Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), Federal

Attorney General of the United States, Federal

Secretary of State, Federal

Case Details

Causes of Action:

Ex Parte Young (Federal) or Bivens

Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), 8 U.S.C. §§ 1101 et seq.

Availably Documents:

Any published opinion

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Plaintiff

Nature of Relief:

Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement

Source of Relief:

Litigation

Order Duration: 1982 - 0

Issues

Immigration/Border:

Asylum - criteria

Asylum - procedure

Cuban/Haitian entrant