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Case Name P.K. v. Tillerson IM-DC-0031
Docket / Court 1:17-cv-01533-TSC ( D.D.C. )
State/Territory District of Columbia
Case Type(s) Immigration and/or the Border
Special Collection Trump Travel Ban Challenges
Attorney Organization ACLU Affiliates (any)
ACLU Immigrants' Rights Project
ACLU National (all projects)
ACLU of Northern California
National Immigration Law Center
Case Summary
A group of diversity visa lottery winners and their family members filed suit in the US District Court for the District of Columbia on August 3, 2017. Defendants included the US Secretary of State and consular officials. Plaintiffs were represented by the Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee, ... read more >
A group of diversity visa lottery winners and their family members filed suit in the US District Court for the District of Columbia on August 3, 2017. Defendants included the US Secretary of State and consular officials. Plaintiffs were represented by the Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee, the ACLU, the National Immigration Law Center, and private counsel. Plaintiffs challenged the State Department’s practice of denying immigrant visas to diversity lottery winners from countries affected by President Trump's March 6 Executive Order (EO-2). EO-2 was the second iteration of four 2017 executive orders issued by President Trump that placed restrictions on travelers from numerous majority Muslim countries into the U.S. These orders spurred numerous lawsuits, many of which can be found in this collection. The case was assigned to Judge Tanya S. Chutkan.

The Diversity Visa Program awards visas to nationals from countries that have historically sent low numbers of immigrants to the United States. On March 6, 2017, President Trump issued an executive order that barred entry to nationals from six majority-Muslim countries: Iran, Syria, Libya, Sudan, Somalia, and Yemen. Litigation ensued immediately, and the lower courts initially enjoined the government from implementing the order (see IRAP v. Trump and Hawaii v. Trump). But on June 26, 2017, in IRAP, the Supreme Court stayed the nationwide injunctions and allowed the order to become effective, except as it applied to immigrants who could establish a "bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States." 137 S.Ct. 2080.

The plaintiffs were nationals from countries affected by EO-2 who had been selected as diversity visa lottery winners for the 2017 fiscal year (FY2017) but could not establish a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States. By statute, the State Department was required to issue visas to the 2017 winners by September 30; winners whose visas were not issued by that deadline lost their slots in the program. In their complaint, the plaintiffs alleged that "nevertheless, the State Department has adopted a policy directing consular officials to deny diversity visas to nationals from the countries barred from entry by the Executive Order." The complaint presented two main arguments. First, the plaintiffs alleged that the State Department’s practice violated the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) and "statutes and regulations requiring the issuance of immigrant visas to diversity visa lottery winners who are statutorily eligible." Second, the practice allegedly conflated the travel ban’s prohibition on entry to the US for nationals from the targeted countries (originally set to expire in September 2017) with a total ban on the issuance of visas to individuals from these countries including visas issued pursuant to the diversity program. The plaintiffs sought declaratory and injunctive relief as well as a writ of mandamus requiring consular officials to issue plaintiffs' immigrant visas. Alternatively, the plaintiffs requested that the court order the State Department to reserve any unused FY2017 visa numbers for processing following any decision by the Supreme Court in IRAP. The same day that they filed their original complaint, the plaintiffs requested class certification.

On August 18, 2017, the government responded to the plaintiffs' motion for a preliminary injunction (filed the same day as the original complaint). The State Department argued that plaintiffs' claims were precluded by the Supreme Court's stay in IRAP, which allowed the government to implement the EO.

Plaintiffs filed both an amended petition for a writ of mandamus and an amended complaint on September 22, 2017. The amended complaint added eight plaintiffs.

Judge Chutkan issued an order granting in part and denying in part plaintiffs' motion for preliminary injunction and writ of mandamus on September 29, 2017. Judge Chutkan agreed with the government that the Supreme Court's June 26 decision in IRAP precluded the district court from issuing a preliminary injunction. However, the court did grant the plaintiffs' alternative request for relief. Consequently, the court ordered the State Department to report the number of unused visas for FY2017 by October 15, 2017, and to hold those visas for plaintiffs in the event that the Supreme Court struck down EO-2. 302 F. Supp. 3d 1.

The Supreme Court issued another order in IRAP vacating the judgment of the district court in that case because the EO at issue expired on September 24, 2017, and expressed no view on the merits. 38 S.Ct. 353 Subsequently, in this case, the government filed a motion to dismiss on October 20, 2017, arguing that the Supreme Court's decision rendered the case moot. Plaintiffs filed their reply on November 13, 2017, arguing that the case was not moot because the district court could still provide them relief.

The following month, plaintiffs submitted a series of status updates to the court. Following the court's request, plaintiffs submitted a status update on December 4 reporting the number of diversity visas issued in 2017. Defendants responded on December 5 contesting that number. Plaintiffs claimed that the State Department issued a total of 49,067 out of the available 50,000 diversity visas, while the government claimed that 49,976 were actually issued. Additionally, on January 5, 2018, plaintiffs filed another status update arguing that the Ninth Circuit's decision in Hawaii v. Trump supported plaintiffs' claim that the case was not moot.

Judge Chutkan dismissed this case with prejudice on March 27, 2018. He determined plaintiffs' claims were moot because the section of EO-2 at issue had expired. Plaintiffs appealed to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals (docket #18-5156) on May 24, 2018.

The D.C. Circuit reversed and remanded the case back to the district court on August 13, 2019. The Court reasoned that the case was not moot because whether the district court retained the authority to award plaintiffs any relief was a merits question. 933 F.3d 774.

Defendants filed another motion to dismiss in the district court on April 13, 2020. The court did not address this motion until January 2021.

Following the Inauguration of President Biden on January 20, 2021, the government filed an unopposed motion to hold the case in abeyance and a notice informing the district court of President Biden’s revocation of the travel ban executive orders on January 27, 2021. The government also informed the district court of President Biden’s proclamation (also issued on inauguration day) that the State Department provide him with a plan to expedite the reconsideration process for visa applications denied as a result of the executive orders at issue in this litigation. As a result of this motion, the district court made three orders on January 28, 2021. First, the district court granted the motion to hold the case in abeyance. Second, the parties were to file joint status reports, with the first to be submitted by April 27, 2021, and subsequent reports every 30 days after. Third, the district court denied without prejudice the government’s April 13, 2020, motion to dismiss.

The parties have filed three status reports to the court including the first which they submitted on April 27, 2021. As of this writing, their most recent status report was submitted on June 28, 2021. In that filing, they reported to be in settlement discussions and to have exchanged drafts for a joint motion for clarification.

This case is ongoing.

Jamie Kessler - 04/05/2018
Virginia Weeks - 05/25/2018
Sam Kulhanek - 04/18/2020
Esteban Woo Kee - 08/07/2021


compress summary

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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Content of Injunction
Preliminary relief granted
Defendant-type
Jurisdiction-wide
Discrimination-basis
National origin discrimination
General
Terrorism/Post 9-11 issues
Immigration/Border
Admission - criteria
Admission - procedure
Visas - criteria
Visas - procedures
National Origin/Ethnicity
Arab/Afgani/Middle Eastern
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Special Case Type
Habeas
Causes of Action Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. §§ 551 et seq.
Ex parte Young (federal or state officials)
Mandamus, 28 U.S.C. § 1361
Defendant(s) U.S. Department of State
Plaintiff Description A putative class of diversity lottery visa winners and their family members from countries covered by President Trump's 2017 travel ban executive orders.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations ACLU Affiliates (any)
ACLU Immigrants' Rights Project
ACLU National (all projects)
ACLU of Northern California
National Immigration Law Center
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status outcome Pending
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Mixed
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Preliminary injunction / Temp. restraining order
Source of Relief Litigation
Order Duration 2017 - 2017
Filed 08/03/2017
Case Ongoing Yes
Additional Resources
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  See this case at CourtListener.com (May provide additional documents and, for active cases, real-time alerts)
  Proclamation 10141 of January 20, 2021: Ending Discriminatory Bans on Entry to the United States
Federal Register
Date: Jan. 20, 2021
By: President Joseph R. Biden (Office of the President)
[ Detail ] [ PDF ] [ External Link ]

  Presidential Executive Order on Resuming the United States Refugee Admissions Program with Enhanced Vetting Capabilities
Federal Register
Date: Oct. 24, 2017
By: United States
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  Presidential Proclamation Enhancing Vetting Capabilities and Processes for Detecting Attempted Entry Into the United States by Terrorists or Other Public-Safety Threats
Federal Register
Date: Sep. 24, 2017
By: President Donald Trump (Office of the President)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  Implementing Executive Order 13780 Following Supreme Court Ruling -- Guidance to Visa-Adjudicating Posts
Reuters
Date: Jun. 28, 2017
By: U.S. Department of State
[ Detail ] [ PDF ] [ External Link ]

  Presidential Memorandum for the Secretary of State, the Attorney General, the Secretary of Homeland Security, and the Director of National Intelligence
Date: Jun. 14, 2017
By: Donald Trump (White House)
[ Detail ] [ PDF ] [ External Link ]

  Executive Order Protecting The Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into The United States
Federal Register
Date: Mar. 6, 2017
By: President Donald Trump (President of the United States)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  Memorandum to the Acting Secretary of State, the Acting Attorney General, and the Secretary of Homeland Security
The White House
Date: Feb. 1, 2017
By: Donald F. McGahn II, Counsel to the President (The White House)
[ Detail ] [ PDF ] [ External Link ]

  Statement by Acting Attorney General Sally Yates
https://www.nytimes.com/
Date: 1/30/2017
By: Acting Attorney General Sally Yates (Department of Justice)
[ Detail ] [ PDF ] [ External Link ]

  Statement By Secretary John Kelly on the Entry of Lawful Permanent Residents into the United States
https://www.dhs.gov/
Date: 1/29/2017
By: DHS Secretary John Kelly (Department of Homeland Security)
Citation: https://www.dhs.gov/news/2017/01/29/statement-secretary-john-kelly-entry-lawful-permanent-residents-united-states
[ Detail ] [ PDF ] [ External Link ]

  OLC Memo Re: Proposed Executive Order Entitled "Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States"
Date: Jan. 27, 2017
By: Curtis Gannon (U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Legal Counsel)
[ Detail ] [ PDF ] [ External Link ]

  Executive Order: Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States
Federal Register
Date: Jan. 27, 2017
By: President Donald Trump (Office of the President)
[ Detail ] [ PDF ] [ External Link ]

Court Docket(s)
D.D.C.
06/28/2021
1:17-cv-1533
IM-DC-0031-9000.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
D.D.C.
08/03/2017
Petition for Mandamus and Complaint for Injunctive and Declaratory Relief [ECF# 1]
IM-DC-0031-0001.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D.D.C.
08/03/2017
Plaintiffs' Motion for Preliminary Injunction and Emergency Motion for Mandamus Relief [ECF# 2]
IM-DC-0031-0002.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D.D.C.
08/18/2017
Defendants' Response to Plaintiffs' Request for a Preliminary Injunction and Mandamus Relief [ECF# 24]
IM-DC-0031-0003.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D.D.C.
08/28/2017
Plaintiffs' Supplemental Brief in Support of Request for Preliminary Injunction [ECF# 30]
IM-DC-0031-0004.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D.D.C.
09/22/2017
First Amended Petition for Mandamus and First Amended Complaint for Injunctive and Declaratory Relief [ECF# 46]
IM-DC-0031-0005.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D.D.C.
09/29/2017
Memorandum Opinion [ECF# 49] (302 F.Supp.3d 1)
IM-DC-0031-0018.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D.D.C.
09/29/2017
Order [ECF# 50]
IM-DC-0031-0006.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D.D.C.
10/20/2017
Defendants' Motion to Dismiss [ECF# 53]
IM-DC-0031-0007.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D.D.C.
11/03/2017
Memorandum in Opposition to Motion to Dismiss [ECF# 54]
IM-DC-0031-0008.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D.D.C.
11/13/2017
Defendants' Reply in Support of Their Motion to Dismiss [ECF# 56]
IM-DC-0031-0009.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D.D.C.
12/04/2017
Plaintiffs' Status Update and Motion to Schedule Oral Argument [ECF# 57]
IM-DC-0031-0013.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D.D.C.
12/12/2017
Defendants' Response to Plaintiffs' Status Update [ECF# 59]
IM-DC-0031-0010.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D.D.C.
01/05/2018
Plaintiffs' Status Update [ECF# 60]
IM-DC-0031-0011.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D.D.C.
01/12/2018
Defendants' Response to Plaintiffs' Status Update [ECF# 61]
IM-DC-0031-0012.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D.D.C.
03/27/2018
Memorandum Opinion [ECF# 65] (304 F.Supp.3d 1)
IM-DC-0031-0014.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
U.S. Court of Appeals
09/04/2018
Brief for Plaintiffs-Appellants [Ct. of App. ECF# 17]
IM-DC-0031-0016.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
U.S. Court of Appeals
12/14/2018
Opinion (933 F.3d 774)
IM-DC-0031-0017.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Source: Google Scholar
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Judges Chutkan, Tanya Sue (D.D.C.) show/hide docs
IM-DC-0031-0006 | IM-DC-0031-0014 | IM-DC-0031-0018 | IM-DC-0031-9000
Griffith, Thomas Beall (D.C. Circuit) show/hide docs
IM-DC-0031-0017
Tatel, David S. (D.C. Circuit) show/hide docs
IM-DC-0031-0017
Williams, Stephen Fain (D.C. Circuit) show/hide docs
IM-DC-0031-0017
Plaintiff's Lawyers Amdur, Spencer (New York) show/hide docs
IM-DC-0031-0002 | IM-DC-0031-0004 | IM-DC-0031-0005 | IM-DC-0031-0008 | IM-DC-0031-0011 | IM-DC-0031-0013 | IM-DC-0031-0016
Ayoub, Abed A. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-DC-0031-0002 | IM-DC-0031-0008 | IM-DC-0031-0011 | IM-DC-0031-0013 | IM-DC-0031-0016
Bokat-Lindell, Noah (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-DC-0031-9000
Cox, Justin Bryan (Georgia) show/hide docs
IM-DC-0031-0001 | IM-DC-0031-0002 | IM-DC-0031-0004 | IM-DC-0031-0005 | IM-DC-0031-0008 | IM-DC-0031-0011 | IM-DC-0031-0013 | IM-DC-0031-0016 | IM-DC-0031-9000
Eidelson, Ben (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-DC-0031-0016
Jadwat, Omar C. (New York) show/hide docs
IM-DC-0031-0002 | IM-DC-0031-0004 | IM-DC-0031-0005 | IM-DC-0031-0008 | IM-DC-0031-0011 | IM-DC-0031-0013 | IM-DC-0031-0016
Khalaf, Samer E. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-DC-0031-0001 | IM-DC-0031-0002 | IM-DC-0031-0004 | IM-DC-0031-0005 | IM-DC-0031-0008 | IM-DC-0031-0011 | IM-DC-0031-0013 | IM-DC-0031-0016 | IM-DC-0031-9000
Michelman, Scott (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-DC-0031-0001 | IM-DC-0031-0002 | IM-DC-0031-0004 | IM-DC-0031-0005 | IM-DC-0031-0008 | IM-DC-0031-0011 | IM-DC-0031-0013 | IM-DC-0031-0016 | IM-DC-0031-9000
Minzner, Max J (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-DC-0031-0001 | IM-DC-0031-0002 | IM-DC-0031-0004 | IM-DC-0031-0005 | IM-DC-0031-0008 | IM-DC-0031-0011 | IM-DC-0031-0013 | IM-DC-0031-0016 | IM-DC-0031-9000
Price, Matthew E. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-DC-0031-0001 | IM-DC-0031-0002 | IM-DC-0031-0004 | IM-DC-0031-0005 | IM-DC-0031-0008 | IM-DC-0031-0011 | IM-DC-0031-0013 | IM-DC-0031-0016 | IM-DC-0031-9000
Rondon, Yolanda C. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-DC-0031-0002 | IM-DC-0031-0004 | IM-DC-0031-0005 | IM-DC-0031-0008 | IM-DC-0031-0011 | IM-DC-0031-0013 | IM-DC-0031-0016
Spitzer, Arthur (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-DC-0031-0001 | IM-DC-0031-0002 | IM-DC-0031-0004 | IM-DC-0031-0005 | IM-DC-0031-0008 | IM-DC-0031-0011 | IM-DC-0031-0013 | IM-DC-0031-0016 | IM-DC-0031-9000
Sung, Esther (California) show/hide docs
IM-DC-0031-0001 | IM-DC-0031-0002 | IM-DC-0031-0004 | IM-DC-0031-0005 | IM-DC-0031-0008 | IM-DC-0031-0011 | IM-DC-0031-0013 | IM-DC-0031-0016 | IM-DC-0031-9000
Tumlin, Karen C. (California) show/hide docs
IM-DC-0031-0002 | IM-DC-0031-0004 | IM-DC-0031-0005 | IM-DC-0031-0008 | IM-DC-0031-0011 | IM-DC-0031-0013 | IM-DC-0031-0016
Wofsy, Cody H. (California) show/hide docs
IM-DC-0031-0001 | IM-DC-0031-0002 | IM-DC-0031-0004 | IM-DC-0031-0005 | IM-DC-0031-0008 | IM-DC-0031-0011 | IM-DC-0031-0013 | IM-DC-0031-0016 | IM-DC-0031-9000
Wolson, Max (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-DC-0031-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Dorsey, Catherine (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-DC-0031-0003 | IM-DC-0031-0010 | IM-DC-0031-0012 | IM-DC-0031-9000
Peachey, William Charles (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-DC-0031-0003 | IM-DC-0031-0007 | IM-DC-0031-0009 | IM-DC-0031-0010 | IM-DC-0031-0012
Platt, Steven (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
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Press, Joshua S. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-DC-0031-0003 | IM-DC-0031-0007 | IM-DC-0031-0009 | IM-DC-0031-0010 | IM-DC-0031-0012 | IM-DC-0031-9000
Readler, Chad Andrew (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-DC-0031-0003 | IM-DC-0031-0007 | IM-DC-0031-0009 | IM-DC-0031-0010 | IM-DC-0031-0012
Reuveni, Erez (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
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Westwater, Gisela Ann (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
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